Is it too late for you? Did you set your heart against God–for whatever reason–and ignore the urging of His Holy Spirit? Maybe you knew Him once, but something happened–someone you really wanted in your life left you or died, or you insisted on living in a way you knew God didn’t want for you–and you pushed Jesus away. Is there any way to undo all of the ruined years–for you to come back? Or is it really too late?
“The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’…[But the Father said] ‘My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’…” (Luke 15:21, 24 NCV)
God loves us–each and every one of us. He is saddened that so many of us are foolish beyond belief and choose to experience a life of rebellion and sin apart from Him rather than walk in the goodness and joy of His presence. Yet such is the deceit of the “wicked three”–the devil, the world, and our own flesh. These conspire to convince us that what we want or feel we must have is so much better than intimacy with God until we fall for it, and push Christ away. Then, what Jesus said happens: “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 13:12 NIV) God does not force Himself on us; when we do not want Him, He lets us pull away, until we no longer feel Him in our lives.
Sin does that. Whenever we say yes to sin, whether we intentionally mean to or not we are simultaneously saying no to God, because He is holy, and as His own we too, must choose to live in His holiness. When we allow our bodies or minds to crave and subsequently choose sin, we separated ourselves from Him: “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.” (Isaiah 59:2 NLT)
But this decision is not irrevocable–as long as God gives you the consciousness of your lost condition and a desire to be pulled out and saved from it, He will take you back. Look at the parable of the prodigal son–how eagerly the father forgave the son’s rebellion and sin, and how quick he was to welcome him back into his family when he asked!
God wants us to come back–in fact, He longs for it! Look at the parable Jesus taught about the lost sheep:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep but loses one of them. Then he will leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the open field and go out and look for the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it, he happily puts it on his shoulders and goes home. He calls to his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, I tell you there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes his heart and life, than over ninety-nine good people who don’t need to change.” (Luke 15:4-7 NCV)
Or that of the lost coin:
“Suppose a woman has ten silver coins, but loses one. She will light a lamp, sweep the house, and look carefully for the coin until she finds it. And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Be happy with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner changes his heart and life.”” (Luke 15:8-10 NCV)
So, is it too late for you? Absolutely not! Yet, we should not put God off–we shouldn’t ignore the urging of His Spirit when we feel Him calling–because we don’t know how narrow that window of opportunity to come back to Him might be. Death, or an injury that takes our will and conscious mind away, can come at any moment and He has already been patient with us this long–how much longer can we impose on His goodness to us?
“Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help. Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off…” (2 Corinthians 6:1-10 MSG)
I have sinned; please take me back! Amen.