I Need a Savior

I’ve been reading the book “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller.  It’s been out for a while now, but after having a conversation with my sister about it, I had to find out for myself.  I was not but several pages in, that my world was changed.  I’ve never heard the story of the prodigal son broken down the way Timothy Keller describes it.  I think so often we see this as a story of the lost coming home.  The wayward, partier son takes off with his heritage, spoils it on himself, comes home and begs for a seat at the table of his fathers, not as his son, but as a servant.  Although that is part of it, Timothy Keller focuses just as much on the other son.  He points out that the parable wasn’t told for the lost, but told for the Pharisees.  It’s a story of grace, of finding God and loving Him for who He is, and not what He gives us.  That’s not relationship.  Here is a quote that I have been wrestling with…

“If like the elder brother, you believe that God ought to bless you and help you because you have worked so hard to obey Him and be a good person,  then Jesus may be your helper, your example, even your inspiration, but He is not your Savior.  You are serving as your own Savior.”

Dang.  Wow.  Dang…

Because of the society we live in, you are rewarded for good and punished for bad.  It’s a system that somewhat has to be in place to create order in our world.  How often I have found myself asking God to move in my favor, thinking that my discipline of saying no to wrong things and yes to the right, earns me that reward.  It’s so easy to think God works in a performance mindset when it comes to us, but here, in this parable, He proves it has nothing to do with that.  It’s this inner fight, this struggle I have inside of me that although there is blessing with obedience, there’s so much more to a relationship with God than obeying and getting His favor for your life.  If you base your life on that alone, you will come up shorthanded.  Life isn’t perfect and tough stuff happens to even the most “obedient” people.  If you base your life on how many times God answers your prayers, then you will be disappointed.  BUT…

Trusting Him as your Savior will never disappoint.  You see, you get to know God for who He is, not what He can do for you.  Timothy Keller points out that both sons are guilty of wanting their father’s things, but without the relationship.  As a church we have been so guilty of this.  We teach on God’s rewards, favor, the things He does for us, but miss out on getting to know Him.  Those things are important and such a wonderful part of God, but that’s not who He is.  He’s your Savior…the one who brings salvation.  If we don’t keep ourselves at a place of needing a Savior, we are in a dangerous position.  It’s through having a relationship with Him, that you want to do what He asks of you.  You want to obey what His Word says.  You want to say no to the wrong and yes to the right.  That’s all very important, but just like in the quote above, you’re missing out on knowing Him as your Savior.

One more quote from the book

“When a newspaper posed the question, ‘what is wrong with the world?’ The Catholic thinking G.K. Chesterson reputedly wrote a brief letter in response: ‘Dear Sirs, I am.Sincerely Yours, G.K. Chesterson.’  That is the attitude of someone who has grasped the message of Jesus.”

How often we find fault in the world without looking at ourselves.  We are nothing without Him.  Pride has a funny way of peaking out amongst us.  This has humbled me to no end. I need a Savior.  Jesus, be mine.

2 thoughts on “I Need a Savior

  1. Thresa Davis says:

    Great Post!I especially love the last quote from the book. I’ve had this book on my reading list for a while also. I’ll have to move it up a few notches, so many books, so little time…

  2. Jenny says:

    Wow Noelle, this post is powerful. I must read this book.

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