Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”  (1Peter5:8)


The Prodigal son didn’t just wake up one day and think ‘Today is a great day to offend, totally disrespect and publicly embarrass my father, get everything I want, money for nothing and chicks for free “and then go party.  The Bible warns us in James 1:15 that ‘after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.’ Spiritual death and separation from God.  Prodigals don’t become prodigals overnight. There’s a process happening within them – thinking, desiring, lusting, fantasizing, imagining… all these happen WITHIN before the OUTWARD evidence of sin is witnessed. The bible says that Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”  (1Peter5:8).  The evil one wants nothing more than to destroy your family, your marriage, and your kids.  By doing so, he destroys you, your children and your children’s children.  This is why we must stand firm and “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. (James 4:7)

Why They Wander Off

Sin always begins with compromised thinking (Genesis 3:13) and ends in despicable compromised behavior unless repentance happens. Often times that even means we commit sin we never ever thought we could commit or have spoken out against in the past. The prodigal son must have been consumed with what the world could offer him to reach the point of causing such offensive sin that even by todays standard is unheard of.   Displaying such disrespect to his father is actually a massive sin against God himself. (Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20, exodus 20:12, John 24:15, 1 Samuel 25:23, 2 Timothy 3:2, Leviticus 20:19, Matthew 21:28-32, and so many more …). To ask for his inheritance and leave at that time and in that culture was the most disrespectful thing you could do to your parents. By doing so, he was basically telling his father “You are already dead to me and I want your money”. Sound familiar to anyone?   This sounds a lot like the youth of our generation. They want nothing to do with you but expect you to keep paying their bills and give them money.   When they don’t get what they want, they revolt and the broken lives and division of so many families today gives them the ability to do so.  Those things that tempt us preoccupy our minds well before we act in sin. Prodigals never consider where their decisions could lead them, nor do they weigh the damage that they will cause along the way because their sin is always 100% self-centered.  I remember living that way.   They also never ever think about the long-term consequences of their actions. Sin will take you farther than you want to go, hold you hostage longer than you want it to, and cost you far more than you can ever imagine. I can speak from experience on that as well.  The reality is self-centered and sin never only affects just one person. It always affects all of those around us and in ways that we cannot comprehend. it can even last generations.  One decision can cost so much!   How did the prodigal son leaving and getting his money first affect the older son who listened, had respect for his parents and didn’t sin?  The devil loves division and he will use anyone in the world to tell your prodigal that their actions and choices are valid, acceptable and will even go as far as aiding in that sin through “safe spaces” and places to escape Gods will, His rules and their parents wishes. Not until they reach the end of themselves will you prodigal see the truth about the deception that you believe.

It’s a Matter of Faith

regardless of what anyone tells you, being a prodigal means that you are gradually walking away from your faith.  You cannot worship the world and serve God at the same time.  You cannot serve your fleshly desires and serve God at the same time either.  Prodigals don’t just make a snap decision to abandon their faith, but instead through other influences and people, Prodigals slowly compromise their faith and justify their choices and words in their minds long before they ever actually sinned against their parents. My experience with this both personally and through our group at the church is that it always starts the same. The prodigal has a desire to spend more time in the world than the church.  Their friends don’t share the same faith or as deep and they are lured away because they want to “fit in”.  This is especially true in cases where the family moves to a new place or the child goes to a new school.   They begin to rebel because “my friends don’t have to do that”, or “that was the olden days dad and we don’t do that anymore so I’m not doing that”.  They do not want to get up in the morning for church. They don’t want to read the Bible. They get angry or standoffish when they are around people from the church or people that try to explain to them that they need to get closer to the church not farther away. I have even seen cases of physical violence when parents try to enforce curfews or “you cannot see this person” rules.  If they are in private Christian school, they will rebel and demand to go to public school where there are less rules and no God taught. They will take it so far that they will even fail classes on purpose until their parents give in and allow them to move.  They will not rest in their endless pursuit to get their way and they will make the whole family miserable until they do.  This is why we as parents must realize that they are actually running away from God and not us.  I have seen this in dozens of families over the last two years and it always follows a nearly identical pattern. That’s because the devil always works in the same way as he has since the beginning of time.  He wants you to question God (Genesis 3:13), his law and to believe “I’m good without Rules and God” (Roman’s 1:18-32). It’s no coincidence that this happened thousands of years ago and continues to happen today. The devil is always seeking to prowl around and devour. The Jesus said “And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:20-23)


The hardest thing that a parent has to do is to stand firm, teach the truth and believe that God will work it out for His good even if it temporarily jeopardizes relationships.  You have the choice to make that relationship the most important thing, spoil that child, keep them from their consequences and rules or choose to live for God and his ways with his Perfect model defined in His word.    God does not desire for your children to be separated from you and in fact He vows to punish those that promote or assist in it (Matthew 18:6, Matthew 21:15, Matthew 18:3, Romans 12:19,  Luke 17:2, and so many more….)  but He knows that all of us at some point walk away from the faith, usually pay massive consequences for it, and then find our way back to an always forgiving, always loving, full of grace,  perfect to forgive us God.  I speak of this from personal experience.  Because the father of the prodigal son loved him and loved God, he was able to “let him go” and trusted God to work in his life.  My personal mentor told me the same thing and that I needed to be like that father.  Let them go, let them make mistakes and find out the world is not what you think it is.  The truth is eventually the world will leave you desiring to “eat out of the pig pen” instead of having a warm meal in your father’s house who loves you and provided for every one of your needs since birth.  What I love most about the parable is that the father loved and trusted God so much that he looked everyday down the path to see if his son had returned and even though day after day he didn’t, he remained faithful. Imagine that kind of faith!  He was rewarded with his precious son back, but only after God had completed a work in him that no parent or person can do.  The late pastor Charles Spurgeon always used to say “lest a man be broken, God cannot use him”. I believe that to me more true every single day.

Son or Daughter, guard your heart and mind and purge your thinking of all that seeks to take you away from your Father or mother.   Confess and repent of your sinful desires and thinking. Resist the devil and he will flee.  Count the cost of sinful desires BEFORE they land you in the “pig pen” because what is going on WITHIN you determines what will come OUT. And the consequences can be life destructive and are sure to cause spiritual separation (death) between you and God.

Mother or father, guard your heart against the lies of the devil.  He will try to make you believe you failed by following God’s will and law. He will remind you of your actual shortcomings even though God has washed those away with his Blood.  He will make you think that your child is lost forever.  What he will not tell you is that the power of the Holy Spirit is unlike anything else in the world.  My advice is to pray daily for your child to see the truth.  Not lies.  That your child will see that the only way is God’s way. That their sin is separating them from the abundant life.  Pray that someone or some circumstance will come into their life that causes them to turn back and come back to God.  And don’t forget to look daily for them to come down the path as they return to you.  Believe that it will happen.