Neither Brother.

This disposition – ‘I am my own god’ – may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has the one basis, my claim to my right to myself….When our Lord faced men… He looked at something we do not see – the disposition. 

O. Chambers

In the familiar Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-31), the younger of two sons was a haughty youth who had the audacity to demand his inheritance from his living, breathing father. He was the kind of kid you don’t want your kid to hang out with.

But just as much as he was full of darkness, evidenced by his actions, so the pious older son was rebellious in heart. Perhaps, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with puffed out chest, the older son worked hard at that outer appearance gig in order to gain and maintain his father’s approval. “Here, here, father. Come see what I did.”

God wasn’t impressed.

Geographically speaking, older bro’ stayed close to the father but that was where his closeness ended. Garbed in his religiosity, he likely looked all too slick and polished but smelled to high heavens in the nostrils of God the Father.

Decorous morality or indecorous immorality? So which brother had it right? Clearly, God was not (and is not) impressed with either brother. Or with me should I put on piety like a stunning new ball gown, strutting down life’s runway.

However…equally offensive to my Creator is if I give in to self-criticism with drooping Charlie Brown shoulders as though I’m no more valuable than a cold, limp French fry (trash those things). Because, ahem, how does that self-loathing attitude jive with the truth that declares, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14?

It doesn’t. Never will.

God glances past the outward brother persona and penetrates His searching gaze into my disposition. The heart motive. The stuff inside, hidden from public eye.

Is my heart close to Him and my pace in stride with His? Apparently, Enoch (Noah’s great-grandfather) had the walking-in-stride thing down. So much so that God literally whoosh! took him away (Genesis 5:24).

Choosing to cast off the attitudes of both brothers and finding the right stride alongside God is difficult. Painful at times.

Hey God, could You maybe walk a bit faster? Wait. Why have You suddenly stepped up the pace when life has me already so short of breath?

The challenge is to fully accept that I’m God’s priceless masterpiece and carry the truth around with a confident humility such that others will be drawn to Christ while also avoiding the destructive self-criticism that equates to taking a neon pink spray paint to the Mona Lisa.

Whether because of a broken self-perception or a fraudulent claim he had a right to himself, both brothers had it wrong. No doubt they stepped on toes as they walked.

My disposition before God should give evidence to the fact that I’m neither brother. That I, instead, believe I’m a girl of inestimable value, both fallible and unconditionally loved.

And may I  – and you – walk like it.

2 Comments

  1. Margaret Eomurian says:

    Great message, and I love the sweet picture of the two brothers!

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