The Father’s Response


We’re taking your battle with sexual addiction deep into a familiar story and see The Father’s Response!

While you may have heard the parable of the Prodigal Son before, this time try listening with your eyes closed and heart open to see where you fit in.

As the story highlights the different paths two sons will take, allow it to draw a picture of how you may be relating to God the Father in your battle against sexual sin. Where do you see yourself? Are you the one pushing away or the one pressing in to earn approval?

Listen for your role in your own story and listen for how God’s heart is revealed in the father’s voice.


Younger Brother – Posture of Rebellion:

Believes truest satisfaction found in sin.

Older brother – Posture of Earning:

Believes working hard to do the right thing, abstaining from desires almost acting like this is what I need to do in order to have God’s blessings.

Father’s Response:

The father’s first focus is not on what the son has done but that the son has been with him.

Not in response to what the son has done, the father responds, “all that is mine is yours.”

Bask in these words and actions of the father: 

Welcome & Celebration

v20 “He was filled with compassion and ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Grace & Love

v31 “My Son (My Daughter) You are always with me and everything I have is yours.”

Be Aware:

The enemy wants us to leave, to believe God is a kill joy.

The enemy wants to convince you that you need to work harder for your Father to notice.

If you want to learn more, check out Josh’s latest musing on this topic at, What If You Forget You Have an Enemy?

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Today I want to revisit a really well known parable and just share some implications I think it has for those of us who are pursuing sexual and relational integrity. In my experience there, there are two pretty two typical kind of approaches for those who are experiencing sexual temptation in and from an ongoing, unwanted sexual behavior. The first is, is of obviously like just to rebel to push against God, to believe that he’s a killjoy to believe that what he’s asking is too much, and to run towards our sin, to embrace that, to believe on some level to believe that there that’s where life is to believe that’s where I’m going to find my true satisfaction. Dr. Patrick Carnes said years ago that one of the lies that people with sexual addictions believe is that sex is actually their, their most sacred need their biggest need. And I think that applies to a lot of other areas. But I remember when I first heard that I thought, I don’t believe that. But as I started to examine the way I was living, I think there are ways that I really acted like that I you know, there were times where I really risked a lot, just for some momentary sexual pleasure, risk, my reputation risked, certainly risked my own sense of respectability, wrist relationships, really risked hurting people, and sometimes did hurt people because of my my sexual sense I was in even though I didn’t cognitively think yeah, this is my greatest need, I was kind of acting like it. So that’s the first direction kind of, you know, taking grasping pushing away from God, viewing him as the one who’s out to kind of stifle life, and just running for sin running to indulge on the other end of the spectrum. Those of us who wrestle with unwanted sexual behaviors, can can work really, really hard at doing the right thing at leaving this stuff behind, they can do everything right, they can abstain from their desires. But they can approach from a perspective that kind of almost acts like, this is what I need to do need to do in order for God to love me in order to be accepted by God, in order to have God’s blessings. And as as much as it may be true, that there are things that when we obey God, we actually will experience some blessing because we’re acting in alignment with the reality of how we’re made. There’s still kind of a not not a posture of grace, but a posture of earning a posture of I need to do this in order to earn something from God, and God actually, is withholding these things from me until I get this stuff, right. And again, like I said, with me, and you know, not believing that sex is my greatest need, but then looking at my behavior and going well, I’m kind of acting like that. I think in a similar way, a lot of school. No, no, I, I believe that God, God’s grace is for me, I believe God loves me. But in the end of the day, a lot of us who are wrestling with unwanted sexual behaviors, still act like no, we act like God, we do need to earn this. I experienced this in my life, too. I remember that I had really a difficult time approaching God after I’d sin. I felt like it was really arbitrary. But I said, I felt like I needed to stay away from him, I had no right to ask anything of him, including his forgiveness after my sin. Or if I did ask for his forgiveness, I really had no right to expect that I would experience His forgiveness, his grace, his love for me. And so even as I would start to falter or start to kind of give in to little bits of temptation, I would already start to feel like there was a divide a wedge, put between me and the Lord, because of what I was getting into. So I said at the beginning, I wanted to kind of look at a familiar story, and, and kind of tie it into this. And I want to look at the story of the prodigal son. And in Luke 15, Jesus shares this very familiar parable about these two sons of their father, the younger son goes to his father, while his father still in good health, and in essence, says to his dad, Dad, I kind of am just, I just can’t wait until you die. Because I more than wanting you I just want, I want my share of the inheritance. I want my money. And so the father sold half his land and gave the proceeds to a son and his son, right. Pretty soon after that, packed up all this stuff and moved far, far away from the dad moved away far enough that nobody would know who his dad was. No one would know who he was. And he just wasted all sorts of music. wasted all, he spent it all on loose living. The ESV says he squandered his property in reckless living. And then when he had spent everything, so his friends have dried up now his his money’s dried up, he’s got no place to go. He, there’s a famine in the land. And he hires himself out to one of the citizens of that far country, and ends up feeding pigs for it. And for any Jew, listen to this parable, they’d go that that is the lowest of the low because pigs are unclean, and so to act to hide yourself out someone who owns pigs, and then to be the one who feeds the pigs, and is in all the muck, and all that stuff, that’s just like the lowest of the low. So Jesus’s Jewish audience that he was sharing this parable with, would have recognized the utter shame of what the son had done both in telling his dad He should be dead and just wants his money. That was just unheard of just complaining. Even asking your father that in, in in to the culture that Jesus was speaking to even asking your father that could have been reason enough just to send that son away. Because it was so disrespectful to the Father. And then to end up wasting all that money and then feeding the pigs is just that would be seen as kind of the just desserts of that young man. And even more shameful because he had, he had wasted all that his father given him on the other. On the other hand, there’s the other son so and that so that son obviously relates to that, you know, I God is a killjoy. I just, I just want to go and, and be reckless and engage in sexual sin that’s more important to me. But another side, there’s the other son, the older son. And the older son is the one who stays home. And he obeys his father, and he works hard for his father. And he does what’s right. So even as he watched his dad sell half his his possessions and give away to his son, which he probably didn’t like, didn’t approve of maybe even gave his dad and earful about how that was a bad move. Nonetheless, he is the dutiful son. And we got to give this guy some credit, because I think he’s he was trying, he was trying to do what was right to be a good son. But we discover in the parable, that he actually has a posture towards his dad, that isn’t entirely dissimilar to his younger brothers. And he ends up being kind of that the legalist, the the one who doesn’t necessarily expect his father to give him good things, or, or to just love him because he loves him. He’s trying to earn something from his dad, he’s trying to earn the proper place. He’s trying to earn his father’s love. He’s trying to earn his father’s favor and his father’s blessing. So these are the two sides, I think we experienced this in our own journey away from whatever our unwanted, sinful or sexual behavior is. And here we see two guys that kind of embody this in, in this story. And of course, the good news that Jesus is sharing in a story is that the Father, this prodigal Father, this, this really reckless in his own way, this father, when he sees the younger son coming home, covered in in, you know, pig, slime or whatever, doesn’t even wait for his Son to repent. It doesn’t even wait for a son to say anything about you know, I don’t deserve to be your son just make me a hired hand a day laborer. He wasn’t even asking to be a slave of the Father is asking to be a day laborer, which means he had no still no commitment to his father. So this is not a model of repentance. This is a model of desperation. But the father doesn’t even wait to listen, he runs after his son falls on him, embraces him with kisses, and just loves him. And then he, you know, calls his servants and says, Get him a ring and a robe and sandals first feet, and kill a fattened calf, we are going to celebrate the my son who is dead is now alive. He was lost. And now he’s found such a gracious response, and I think, really just comes just right in the face of what this son believed about his father, that he’s a killjoy, that he just is rigid and hard and should be gotten away from. And there’s just something beautiful in this and so if you’re, if you’re kind of on that side of things in your sexual sin, and you’re just you’ve been believing that the enemy of the that God is not for you, that he’s a killjoy, that he’s he’s just no fun and won’t let you do the things that you want. Please here and just bask in the goodness of what Jesus is saying here. In the midst of your shame when you’re covered and in the filth of what you’ve done, and you’re feeling guilty and ashamed. Let the father run to you and embrace you and receive you back by grace and restore you to full place of sonship Her daughter ship. And on the other side of things, the older brother Jesus tells it tells us when he finds that the sun has been restored, he throws a fit, and you won’t even go to into the party. And the father responds to him in almost the same way he responds to the younger brother. He doesn’t wait inside for the son to come in. He goes out seeking the older son. And he and this is these are some of my favorite words in Scripture. Actually. He actually when the father when the when the older brother like, tells him why he’s not happy with him. And he basically he clarifies who he is, he says, What did he say? I’m going to look here in verse 30, and sorry, 29, he says to his father, look, all these years I’ve served you and I never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me a young goat that I might celebrate with my friends, when the son of yours so he’s not even saying he’s his brother, but you’re the son of yours comes, who has devoured your property, with prostitutes, and by the way, devoured your property means also part of his inheritance. You kill the fattened calf for him, you won’t even give me a goat you killed the biggest calf for him. This just shows this shows the underbelly that he didn’t really he wasn’t serving the father just out of out of utter love. The he, he really felt himself in some ways distant from the Father and neglected by the Father. But listen to what the father says to him. He says, Son, He calls him son. So he again, he’s not treating him as a servant, even though the the older brothers kind of treating himself as the servant in relation to the Father. He says, Son, you’re always with me. His first focus is not on what the son has done. But the son has been with him. His heart isn’t just like looking at you, right? You’ve done everything right. His heart is, you have always been with me. You were always with me. That’s where the Father’s heart is. That’s what he’s excited about. And then not in response to what the son has done. But he says next, so he says, You’ve always been with me. And then he says, and all that is mine is yours. Everything I have is yours. So in other words, you wanted the fatted calf, it’s yours, you know, you don’t have to wait to wait for me to to signal my approval of all that you’ve done. I’m excited that you’re here. And everything that I have is already yours. And so if you have been trying, trying, trying to do what’s right to leave your sexual behaviors behind, to do all the work to get the filters, etc, etc. And you find inside somewhere deep in your heart, that God is you you find in your heart, that you have this posture towards God that somehow you’ve got to get it right enough for him to love you. And let these words of the Father sink in to your heart and bask in these words. You’re with me, and that’s what delights me, you’re always with me. And all that I have is yours. This is the heart of your father. He treats both sons the same way, and highlights what Dallas Willard taught that, that the gospel, God is not opposed to effort. He likes the effort of the older brother he likes the younger sons come home. But he is opposed to earning with the sons have they have because they’re his sons. Now because they’ve earned it or done enough, right. So one concluding thought here, and I think this is a helpful frame up is really the enemy that wants to keep us separated from God. The enemy wants us to leave. He wants us to believe the father’s a killjoy. And there’s no that it’s not fun to stay at home. It’s not fun to be with a father, that real life is found out there somewhere for us. That’s a lie from the enemy. He wants you to go OUT out there. And if you’re at home, if you’ve never laughter, if you’re doing a good job, and you’re working hard, the enemy wants to separate you from the Father, by getting you convinced that you’ve got to do more, work harder, get it right toe the line, not mess up and wait for your father to notice. That’s the voice of the enemy. The voice of the Father is your my son or my daughter, and I love you. And I love that you’re with me. Everything I have I share with you. We can put it this way the enemy wants to take from what is yours and make it his own. He wants to take from what is yours and make it his own. Keep it away from you and keep it to himself. That’s that’s the story of the younger son. But God in contrast, wants to take it from what is his and make it yours. The enemy wants to take from what from what is yours and make it his God wants to take from what is his and make it yours. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy about what you’re fathers like, believe God, he’s happy that you’re with him. And he wants to give you all he has all he has is yours to share with you. Lord, would you would you expose those faulty beliefs we’ve got about you that we that we nurse that we carry deep inside of us repent of, of our unbelief in your love. We repent, for believing the enemy’s lies about you. We repent for living as though what he has said about you is true. And God would you open our eyes to the love that you have to the Father that you are to the Savior that you are to who you really are, or we need you. We are actually longing for you. We are longing for you. Thanks, he loved to be with us. We’d love to be with you to teach us learn to stay with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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By Matthew Snider

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