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The Older Brother

Scripture:

Luke 15:29 ESV
29but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.

Observation:

This verse was directed at the Pharisees as a showing what lies in their hearts. There are times where I have even felt the same way. “Look, God, I have been serving you for so long, why hasn’t my prayers been answered or why am I not enjoying the blessings that you are offering this other person when they have not even been a Christian for a long time. They just came to you and suddenly you turn around and do all of this for them! It’s unfair!” The point that I miss is that God has and is blessing me. Yet, because my attitude has changed from thankfulness to ungratefulness, I have lost what is the most important issue here, that God loves and cares for me the same as all his children. My service to God has become not one of thankfulness for His grace and salvation not to mention ALL the blessings bestowed on me, rather it is something that I have to do because I am a “Christian.” We don’t have to do anything! God is not wanting our activity, but He wants our hearts. He wants us to be at that state of appreciation and awe before Him. When we get to a point where we start to lose the joy of serving God, we need to step back and start working on our attitude. He wants us to be at a state, like the prodigal son before him, where we are so grateful and filled with love for Jesus, that we fall at His feet and worship. We need to know how unworthy we are to come before Him, yet out of love, He embraces us and welcomes us home. Let our hearts always be before God, humble and grateful for His love.

Application:

I know there are times where my attitude needed a check. I know I have had times where I looked at others who have been blessed and judged them like the older son in this parable. I’ve asked God, “Why them and not me? Why are they blessed and I am not?” And I am humbled by my ungrateful heart, for I have lost what it means to truly love God and appreciate all that God has done for me. Heart Checks:
1) What is the condition of my attitude today? Am I just doing things because I am obligated to do them or am I doing them out of love and gratefulness? This should be one check I need to run every day lest I run into the danger of being like the “older brother.”
2) Have I worshipped God today? The thing that will actually determine my level of gratefulness will be my worship. If it has been a long time since I have worshipped God, I know I suffer from being ungrateful. I need to also run this check every day!

Prayer:

Jesus, I know I have had several times where I have been ungrateful and put serving You as an obligation rather than serving you out of love. I ask for your forgiveness and I thank you for revealing these things in my heart. Thank you, Holy Spirit for the guidance of today’s “heart checks”. I love you so much and I thank you for your loving embrace even when I am not worthy. In Your Precious Name, Jesus, Amen!

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