The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 is one of the most famous teachings of Jesus. I thought I knew everything there was to know about that story until Randy Clark (of Global Awakening) shed new light on it when he gave a plot twist to the story. It’s something he calls “Bunkhouse Thinking.” Let me explain…
We are all Prodigal Sons and Prodigal Daughters at some time in our lives. Or many times! Where we make poor decisions. Where we run from God. And as a result we end up in the “distant country.”
At some point, just like the Prodigal Son in the story, we repent of our ways and want to go back to the Father in order to live the life we were meant to live.
But on the way back home, we encounter the elder brother.
And the elder brother tells us that the Father is disappointed with us. Or the elder brother tells us how the Father is angry. Or he tells us we don’t have what it takes, that we’ll never amount to anything. Or he tells us the Father doesn’t love us. Or he shames us. Or condemns us. Or accuses us. Or judges us.
If the elder brother strikes the right nerve, we’ll give up on our journey home. We’ll embrace his lies as truths and instead of going back home to the Father, we’ll settle for the bunkhouse — the migrant shack where the servants live. Where we don’t have a real relationship with our Father and where we live much less than lives to the full.
Here’s the truth… God didn’t create you to be a servant. After all, He already has legions of those. They are known as angels.
When God created you, He made a son. A daughter.
We need to reject “bunkhouse thinking” and embrace our true identity. Here are some aspects of that identity: You are inseparable from God’s love and will never be abandoned (Romans 8:35-39). You are completely forgiven (Ephesians 1:7). You have a calling on your life (Ephesians 4:1). You are one over whom the Lord rejoices, sings, and claps (Zephaniah 3:17). You are the one for whom the Lord throws a party (Luke 15:7-10). You are indwelled by a fearless Spirit of love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). You are more than a conquerer in all things (Romans 8:37).
Let me ask you a question. Who has functioned as the “elder brother” in your life? Besides Satan… that’s a given. Who else? Who else has told you lies that you have allowed to define you or maybe even derail you? A boss? A teacher? A spouse? A parent? A co-worker? A friend? A “friend”?
May those voices be drowned out by God’s voice. May those memories be erased by God’s grace.
It’s time to come out of the bunkhouse.
***This Sunday I’ll be preaching on one of my favorite topics: healing. My sermon is titled “By His Stripes We Are Healed” and will focus on what was going on in the supernatural realm in Matthew 27:11-26, specifically when Jesus was being flogged. November 3. 10:30am (EST). The Eastside Vineyard Church gathers inside Shelby Jr. High School (51700 Van Dyke, 2 blocks north of 23 Mile Rd.). More info at tevchurch.org***