When I was a senior in high school, I ran a half marathon. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but rather something I did because my friends pressured me into it. So I trained, ran the half marathon, and did better than I though I’d do. When it was all over, I told myself that I was going to keep running. I told myself I was going to stay in that shape and, hopefully, run a full marathon.
Fast-forward six years.
This might come as a shock to y’all, but I never ran that full marathon, and I didn’t stay in the shape I was in. It wasn’t because I didn’t want those things, it was simply because I stopped running.
Have you ever found yourself in that place spiritually? I know I have. There have been more times than I wish to acknowledge that I have found myself in a place that I never intended to be spiritually. Not necessarily because I wanted to be there, but simply because I had taken matters into my own hands and stopped running with my eyes set on Jesus.
If you’ve ever found yourself there, you know how hopeless and shameful that place can be. But I’m so thankful for the story of the prodigal son we looked at on Sunday because of the hope that it gives. In the story of the prodigal son it says that the son came to himself and realized that he wasn’t in the best place he could be. He had that moment of realization, seeing where he was and where he needed to be. And what does he do? He gets up and goes back home. He gets up, leaves behind the life of sin and, with his eyes set towards his father, he starts walking. He does what Hebrews 12 tells us to do:
Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…
— Hebrews 12:1b-2a
If you find yourself in a place spiritually you don’t want to be, it’s because sin is real. It’s because sin easily entangles, traps and grabs on tightly to us. But there’s hope. We don’t have to stay in that place. We can lay aside the sin and run far from it. We can lay aside the sin and run with our eyes fixed on Jesus and find rest and restoration in the presence of our Father. We can come home, just like the prodigal son.
Today, may you fix your eyes on Jesus. Today, may you return home.