Timothy Keller concludes his discussion of “elder brother lostness” in Chapter 4 of The Prodigal God by presenting signs four and five.
4. Joyless, fear-based compliance. Obedience simply is duty through and through. There is no joy, love, or intrinsic reward. Compliance is a slavish, joyless drudgery driven by fear. It is complying to the letter of the law for our own sakes, not for God’s sake and for the love of the people around us. Honesty born of fear only perpetuates and strengthens the self-centeredness of the human heart.
5. Lack of assurance of God’s love. One sign of this lack of assurance is that criticism doesn’t merely hurt our feelings, it devastates us. This occurs when our sense of God’s love is abstract. When our sense of God’s love is abstract, that love has little real power in our lives. A second indicator is irresolvable guilt. When we do something wrong, our conscience torments us for a long time, even after repentance. Finally, Pastor Keller states that perhaps the clearest symptom that we lack assurance of God’s love is a dry prayer life. While we may be very diligent in our prayer life, we have no sense of wonder, awe, or intimacy.
Today’s question: To what extent have you felt a lack of assurance of God’s love during your transition time? Which sign best describes your current condition? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The price of forgiveness”