Why we need to put God at the center of our lives
He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing ~ Luke 15:14
The prodigal son left his father’s house probably thinking that things would turn out well outside. At the back of his mind, I believe he wanted to have ‘freedom’ and ‘space’. He wanted to be independent and live his life as he wished; without anyone questioning him. To have such, he had to get out of his father’s house and go far away. His father’s authority, shelter, provision and security meant nothing to him. He was man enough and was capable of taking care of himself. He could provide for and give himself more than his father was giving him, or so, he thought. He went and spent all he had in the pleasures of the world and within no time, it was all gone. He was left struggling and alone, and then suddenly, famine struck. I imagine it was not bearable for him because of the fact that he was used to a life of luxury.
But since now he was alone in a far off country and with much drought in the picture, he had to know how to survive. This led him to look for a job which was so diminishing that he had no shelter and no one to give him food. He was literally living the life of a pig. Understand that this boy was not marked for such a life; he was a beloved son to his father, but he chose this kind of life for himself. The moment he left his father’s house, he entered into a life of struggle.
Many of us are like the prodigal son. We are out there struggling and being beaten down by the heat and severity of the ‘famine’ of the world not knowing that we are not wired for such kind of life. We were not created to be independent, but to be dependent on God. This is the order of God and it cannot be reversed. Reversing it means signing for trouble. Once we wander and move out of God’s presence, trouble kicks in and we begin to experience every form of famine in our lives.
The issue of independence is as old as the beginning itself and it’s closely linked to the sin of self. Anytime we want to have it all, do things the way we want, refuse to submit to any authority and live without being accountable to anyone, it becomes selfishness. It means that we put ourselves first because we want to be at the center and when this happens we become ‘gods’. This is the sin that the Devil taught mankind. Man did not consider God at the time of sinning in the Garden of Eden. He thought of himself and the benefits that would come with eating the forbidden fruit. He put himself at the center and pushed God back. This was a selfish desire and it brought great consequences to humanity and the world at large.
God’s presence is very critical in our lives – it makes all the difference. The moment we disconnect ourselves from Him, everything in our lives falls apart. God is everything and all we can ever ask for. He is all we need. God’s presence is to humanity and it becomes a disaster when a man decides to live independently. The moment we lose it, we become exposed. It’s like a fish, you expose a fish and put it at the risk of dying the moment you remove it out of water. Fish cannot survive without water no matter what happens and to us, we risk ‘death’ in all its forms when we get out of God’s presence. Having the reality of the presence of God is not dependent on us being in a particular circumstance or place, but on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. It means putting Him in the first place – the place where He belongs.
Do not let yourselves be led away from the Lord to worship and serve other gods. If you do, the Lord will become angry with you. He will hold back the rain, and your ground will become too dry for crops to grow. Then you will soon die there, even though it is a good land that he is giving you ~ Deuteronomy 11:16-17.
Disobeying God leads us to a dry spell in many areas of our lives.
So then, obey the commands that I have given you today; love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart. If you do, he will send rain on your land when it is needed, in the autumn and in the spring, so that there will be corn, wine, and olive oil for you, and grass for your livestock. You will have all the food you want (Deuteronomy 11:13-15).