The Pen of Shame

Luke 15:14-19 says, “14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” 
Most of us have watched the movie “Despicable Me.” In this story, Gru’s enemy has something that he wants, and by observing a specific situation, he realized that three girls in the orphanage were the best access to this particular weapon to “shrink the moon”. So, he adopts these girls temporarily until he gets what he wants, but then Dr. Nefario has these kids returned back to the orphanage, where they are placed in a box of shame while Gru and Dr. Nefario capture the moon. Of course, that is not the end of the story, but this is the picture we have of God as being sons and daughters. We want God to “use” us. Have you ever been used in a relationship? What you are asking God is to be famous with Him, and then once He is done with you, He can place you as a trophy on the shelf somewhere until you can be the topic conversation of the “good ol’ days”. Or, once you mess up or He doesn’t need you any more, then you can be returned back to the orphanage, where you can be put back in the box of shame! We have a warped view of God! You don’t need to be used by God, but you need to know God! Once the spirit of adoption has covered your life, He doesn’t take you back into the orphanage. He wraps you in His loving arms as He places His name on your life!
Oftentimes, we don’t view our relationship with God and others as a family, but as a cult, where we all look the exact same. The reason why this parable consists of two sons is because there is more than one type of child. Of course, our greatest goal and common feature is to be like Christ, but we all have different purposes with the same foundation, which is for God to reveal Christ through us. We do not have to be exactly like someone else. We can learn from their lives and experiences, but we are not called to measure up to each other’s standards. We are to be the peculiar treasure that exists as the center of God’s attention! We are not to be part of a gang either, where we feel as though our church and youth group have it all right and figured out, and instead of building each other up in the kingdom, we tear each other down because they are different. We are too good to talk to them, or we feel we are better than them because we are more talented or have more skills. If you are downplaying others, it shows you do not have much confidence in yourself because you have to bring everyone else down below you to make yourself feel better. We have different interests and will have different careers, but your GPA or points you score in a game does not make you better as a person than everyone else. As children of God, we have all been adopted into this family because of the price Jesus paid at Calvary, which makes us equal in His sight!
The problem is that we feel exactly like the title of the movie, “Despicable Me.” We downplay ourselves because of our past, our generational background, or in comparison to someone else. God did not create you to feel despicable about yourself. When you downgrade yourself, you are downing the very image in which God made you, His own. You are looking down on the very identity you represent. You are who you are because of His grace, and that grace does not limit you as nothing. You are great in His sight! You are a king’s kid!
In Luke 15:14-16, the prodigal son would find himself in the pen of shame. Scripture says, “14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” The famine did not come until he spent everything he had. Spiritual draughts come when you waste your inheritance, when your forsake your relationship with God our Father. If you are in a spiritual draught, it is because you are attached to the wrong lifeline of depending on a pastor, church or youth group as your source of provision because in the Father’s House, there is always manna! There is more to provide at any time because God is never broke and empty. If your faith and measure of success in the kingdom is determined by what season of life you are in, then you will chase revival meetings and conferences rather than become revival in your daily walk with God. God has not called us to seasons but an age! It comes when you walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners or delight in the seat of the scornful, but your delight is in His Word, and you meditate day and night. This meditation deepens your roots because you are planted next to a river of life that is always yield fruit, where your leaf never withers, and whatever you do prospers (Psalms 1:1-3). It is because you are not depending on what falls but what flows, which is intimacy in a relationship with God. You are not praying because you need something, but to worship God and grow in Him. You are reading the Word, not to get your next blockbuster message, but to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you from scripture and have a greater understanding of who He is! As you know who He is, you know who you are in Him!
When you are in famine, and you feel the pains of it because you have forsaken a true relationship with God, which must be the foundation of every encounter with Him, then you will be in want, and you will look for anything to feel that need. In this case, the prodigal joined himself to a citizen of the country in which he journeyed. You better be careful what you join yourself to! A citizen of one country will be a stranger in your own, and if you become unequally yoked with unbelievers, and they are not willing to change and move to your level, you will move down to theirs. It much easier for someone to pull you down than it is to pull you up unless you are a tree rooted! “To be unequally yoked” means “to yoke up differently, that is, (figuratively) to associate discordantly.” In scripture, this phrase referred to an oxen pulling with a donkey. When you are the ox, and you are having to pull all of the weight, you are under a false balance, which is an abomination unto the LORD (Proverbs 11:1). You are only exhausting yourself and wasting your inheritance in the harvest when you are yoked up with a donkey!
Don’t join yourself to the wrong citizen because the result is the pig pen, which was considered the worst job in the Jewish culture. Lust filled his belly for the slop the pigs ate, but he himself would have underwent some significant punishment for eating the pigs’ food. Pigs were used in idolatrous practices. They were also the very animals in which Jesus cast the Legion of demons when delivering the man from the tombs. Pigs are the bottom of the totem pole of the Jewish community, being unclean animals, but they were valued in idolatrous nations. Warped priorities can lead you to becoming enslaved to and by idolatry! He was enslaved by his own bad decisions, and he went from owning a lot to owning nothing! Lust in the pig pen is never satisfying. It is continual routine and cycle that will always leave you without, empty and broken! You can remain in that pity party of shame if you will, but God has not called you to be fenced into shame. You may have committed sins, even today before you got here, but He is calling you out of darkness into marvelous light, and He does not just want to free from you bondage to sin, but He longs to cover you in the spirit of adoption while eliminating fear and shame. You must have a “come to yourself” moment and allow His love to drown out your shame, knowing you are changed and your identity is sealed in Him!