Daily encouragement

Video by

Kat Brown

ACF Devo Team

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Romans 1:21-23

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Behind the Scenes

“There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’” These are the opening lines of one of Jesus’ most famous parables, The Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15. The younger son in the story goes on to squander his inheritance in “reckless living.” Paul’s description from today’s passage describes the prodigal son well: ungrateful, futile in his thinking, claiming to be wise, but in reality, being quite foolish. The son exchanged the glory of his father’s home, the glory of sonship, for a lifestyle that promised him so much yet came up empty.

We recently read this parable as a family, and a few days later, one of my kids told me, “Mom, I love you more than my inheritance.” When reading the story, my husband and I explained to our children how the son’s request for his share of the property was akin to him saying to his father, “I love what you can give me more than I love you.” Paul is talking about this same kind of betrayal in today’s passage. We often neglect to honor and thank the giver of every good and perfect gift and betray him by worshiping created things instead of the Creator. In doing so, we say to God, “I love what you can give me more than I love you.”

Make it Real

The prodigal son looked to his father’s money for fulfillment that could only be found by dwelling in his father’s house. He valued the material gain he could score off his dad more than he valued partnering in his father’s work, learning from his father, and sharing in the rewards of the estate together. The son is confronted by his foolishness when he is starving, longing even to have pig food for a meal. But, realizing the depths of his betrayal, he feels he has lost the right to be his father’s son. Instead, he plans to beg for a position as a servant in his father’s home.

Have you experienced a pig-pen moment like the prodigal son, when the weight of your foolish and futile actions comes crashing down on you? After seeking fulfillment in God’s many gifts and coming up empty, have you realized what you were looking for could only be found by dwelling in the Father’s house?

Romans 1:21-23 doesn’t just describe the prodigal son, it describes you and me. We have all betrayed God. But when we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us. Luke 15:20 tells us, “But while [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Our Father loves us, and when we return to him, he meets our betrayal with extravagant grace.

End in Prayer

Today, I’ve left some spaces for you to personalize your confession to God:

Father, I am sorry for all the times I’ve worshiped created things rather than you, the Creator. Forgive me for loving ____________ more than I have loved you. I know you are the glorious, immortal God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank you for your extravagant grace, for running to meet me today as I confess my betrayal and surrender ____________ to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Written by

Hailey Schroeder

ACF Devo Team