“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.” (Luke 15:18)
Not long ago, I heard about a Christian young adult who is dealing with addictions in his or her life. A counselor told this young person that he (or she) had “a father problem.” This was said because the individual considers the father in the home to be nearly perfect, expecting the same from him or her. I happen to know this is not the case in this instance. When I heard this, I said to the person with me, “Oh, there’s a father problem all right, just not an earthly one.”
If you’re someone who has read these musings of mine for any length of time, you know that people who use parental flaws (or excellence) to cushion the sinfulness of their own sin, simply wear me out! Heredity and environment may have their part in our personal development, but our Adamic nature plays a far greater role, to my way of thinking. If you’ve read the stories of the kings of Israel in the books of Kings and Chronicles, you know that sometimes, good kings had bad sons, and bad kings had good sons. One thing did not guarantee the other. Each man stood on his own merits.
The same is true in the New Testament. The only time Jesus ever pointed to paternity as the reason for sinful behavior was in John eight, where He told the scribes and Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (Jno. 8:44). Nothing was said of their earthly father or their bringing up, just the fact that because God was not their father, the devil was. It was as simple as that. No retrospection or introspection, just Divine inspection!
And as believers, when there is no victory in our lives and sin has gained the upper hand, we have a Father problem. Yes, the One of whom Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Our Father expects you and me to submit to His ongoing perfecting in our lives, until the day we are presented “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
I heard someone say today, “To get anywhere, you have to know where you are.” When you’re looking for directions on MapQuest, you have to fill in both Point A and Point B. So too, if you want to get anywhere in the Christian life, you have to know (and admit) where you are right now. As long as you’re looking for Point A in the past, Point B will always be the mess you’re in right now.
If you’re out of the will of God today, you have the same “Father problem” the prodigal son had. And if you’ll admit where you are, like he did, you can take care of that problem.