“25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, your brother is come; and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve you, neither transgressed I at any time your commandment: and yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this your son was come, which has devoured your living with harlots, you have killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:25-31
The prodigal son’s heart had turned from his father and to his father’s riches which resulted in sin overtaking this young man. The outward sin was a result of the inward heart. The action of unrepentant sin reveals the condition of a hardened heart…it is the “symptom” if you will.
When the prodigal son’s heart turned once again unto his father, his father received him with open arms. This Scripture is in fact the only Scripture which symbolizes the Lord running to His Children when their heart is perfect toward Him.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
Then there was the “elder son”, the one who had served his father all of this time and had not plundered his father’s riches. The one who was not happy at his brother’s returning. The elder son who was bitter that his brother who was once lost was now found and celebrated.
The heart of the elder son was hardened. The self righteousness that was exhibited in his disgust was a symptom as well…but a symptom not often recognized by the religious.
There are a lot of elder sons in the church today. When the prodigals come in to the fold, they are rejected and deemed false converts because they are not yet theologians.
Jesus Christ came to die for them too! The elder sons and daughters who have had the blessings of the Lord for all of these years and now see the prodigals coming in receiving the same are being shown their own self righteousness. The “symptoms” are coming forth and it is fruit unto death.
We must ALL consider how we diagnose those symptoms of our heart that come forth. We must discern our own fruit before judging others.
“7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spread out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:7-10
The heart is deceitful. We must all discern the condition of our own heart and recognize the symptoms of a heart turned away from God. The Cross of Christ is for whosoever will believe. He is still bidding us all to come…
-Donna Clark Warren