Summary: Why is it that makes it difficult to find our way back home? Because: 1. The rebellion of the human heart. 2. We don’t know the way. 3. We have to decide what is important.
CNN’s website featured an article about Frank Warren, editor of the book The Secret Lives of Men and Women: A PostSecret Book. After a troubling period in his own life, he handed out 3000 self-addressed stamped postcards to people on the street, asking them to anonymously mail him their secrets. It began as a sort of public art project in 2004. To his surprise, the cards started pouring in. He doesn’t have to hand out cards anymore. He has received over 100,000 cards, many of which are works of art in themselves. It has led to PostSecret.com, and there are now many sites like it where you can confess your sins, or tell your deepest secret, anonymously. One postcard had an old picture of a Santa Claus with two boys on his lap. On the picture were written the words, “I wish my sons would contact me.” Another that I was particularly drawn to was one where a man had taken a picture of his hands praying, and written on the picture: “I don’t know how to go back to God, and I want to more than anything else in the world.” Both cards were about finding your way back home. One from a father’s perspective who missed his sons and wanted them to find their way home, and the other from a lost son who could not find the way back to his heavenly Father.
What is it that makes it difficult for us to find our way back home? I believe the first thing is: The natural rebellion in the human heart. If we could have interviewed the prodigal son in Jesus’ story, he might have told us that he did not like all the rules at home. He may have said that he did not like having to answer to his father for everything. Like Jacob, he wanted to get away from his older brother. He just needed to get away from home and have a change of scenery. He wanted to sow his wild oats. But for Jacob, he had created his own problems through deceit and self-centeredness which had created a lot of destructive things in his life.
I see a lot of people today who would rather continue in their dysfunctional lifestyle, which is not working for them at all, than to turn their lives over to God. They would like for God to help them with some of their problems, but they have no intention of surrendering their lives to God. They are caught up in a web of self-destruction, but they would rather live with the destruction their choices have caused than give up the control of their lives. I don’t have to give you any illustrations of this, because each of you are probably already thinking of several by yourself.
Sometimes there are those who manage to break the cycle. In a recent article entitled “The Gym of the Soul” on CitizenLink.com, there is a quote from someone who says, “No matter what, you can overcome your past. With help, if you look to God, you can overcome your past and be reborn.” But it was not a preacher who was quoted, rather it was someone you might not expect. It was Sylvester Stallone, a.k.a. “Rocky.” Stuart Shepard tells the story of the turnaround in Stallone’s life. He tells how Stallone surprised the entertainment world by resurrecting his iconic movie hero, Rocky Balboa, for one last film. And while he was traveling and promoting the film, he told how his faith in Jesus Christ and his renewed commitment to the Christian faith was instrumental in his decision to make the final movie. The article quotes Stallone as saying, “I was raised in a Catholic home, a Christian home, and I went to Catholic schools and I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it, until one day, you know, I got out in the so-called real world and I was presented with temptation. I kinda like lost my way and made a lot of bad choices.” The article quips, “No joke, said all the subscribers to People magazine. But, Stallone added, he’s been going through a change in his life. He’s realized that he was wrong to place his career and fame ahead of his family. ‘The more I go to church,’ he said, ‘and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to His Word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now.’ And, admitting that the analogy might be a little pedestrian, he made a correlation between physical and spiritual fitness. ‘You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else. You cannot train yourself,’ he said. ‘I feel the same way about Christianity and about what the church is: The church is the gym of the soul.’”