Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. I think of the conviction of the Holy Spirit like that. It's like, I smell something better than this.
You know, this stinks what I'm doing right now, and there's something better than this. This is what's taking place in his heart. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see yourself in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series, Free Yourself, Be Yourself. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It could be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. As you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. It's Luke chapter 15 verse 11. 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's coming to me. And he divided his property between them. It would have been unthinkable for a son to ask his father for his inheritance early. It was like saying, I wish you were dead.
That's what it was like saying. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had. He took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into his fields to feed pigs, an unclean animal for the Jewish boy to even associate with.
He was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. But verse 17 says, when he came to himself. What a great line of scripture.
This is, to me, a picture of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He came to himself. He came to himself, and he said, How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger. I'll rise, and I'll go to my father, and I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against heaven, and before you I'm no longer worthy to be called your son.
Treat me as one of your hired servants. And he arose and came to his father. So this rebellious younger son squanders his inheritance, brings scandal. Remember, this is Mid Eastern culture that is built around the principles of shame and honor. He has dishonored his father's name, dishonored his family, squandered his inheritance. We have the impression it is a wealthy man, so this is a lot of money that has been lost.
This is a huge error. This is abject rebellion. This is abhorrent behavior, and he gets to the point he's nearly starving to death, and he says, I'm just going to go home. He doesn't know everything about what it's going to be like when he gets home.
He doesn't know his father's reaction. The Bible says he came to himself, that he had this awareness that there's something better than this. I always like to think of it this, that while he is hungering to just even eat the pig slop, something in his mind, he remembers lamb chops on his father's grill. I think of the conviction of the Holy Spirit like that. It's like, I smell something better than this.
You know, this stinks what I'm doing right now, and there's something better than this. This is what's taking place in his heart. That's the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and that conviction of the Holy Spirit, it just draws him back to his father. He comes back rehearsing this speech about I'm no longer worthy.
He's sorry. He's remorseful, but here's what we learn in verse 20. And he arose and came to his father, but while he was still a long way off, which means his father was looking for him, his father, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said, Father, I've sinned against heaven and before you I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. He really does feel bad about his sin, but while he's feeling bad about his sin and he says I'm not worthy to be called your son, he's also calling him father.
Do you see the irony of that? And he's in the father's arms. The father is hugging him and kissing him, and the father said to his servants, Bring quickly the beshro, put it on him, put a ring on his hands, shoes on his feet, and bring the fattened calf and kill it and let's eat and celebrate for the son of mine was dead and is alive, he's lost and he is found.
And they began to celebrate. The conviction that came upon that young man was there is something better than this in my father's house. I may not understand just how wonderful it is, but it's better than this. This is not what I was made for. This is not who I am.
What am I doing here? Contrast, the older son, verse 25, was in the field. And as he came and drew near the house he heard music and dancing and he called one of his servants and asked what these things meant and he said to him, Your brother's come, your father's killed the fattened calf because he received him back safe and sound. But the older brother was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him.
The father is pleading with him. Can you hear the father saying, Please come into the celebration. This is the greatest moment of our lives.
We're having the greatest party we've ever had. Come in, come in. This brother of yours, he was lost, he's found, he was dead, he's alive. Again, come in. The father is pleading with the older brother.
Come in. And the older brother said, Look, verse 29, these many years I have served you and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat that I may celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him. And he said to him, Son, you're always with me and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad for this brother was dead and is alive.
He's lost and he was found. And the end, the story just ends. It ends with the older brother never coming in, never entering the property. So the younger brother and all of that sin becomes a picture of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But the older brother who is at home dutifully, his own words, slaving for his father, working to try to earn his place and never coming into the celebration and never experiencing the father's embrace, that's a picture of shame. What's interesting is that the world would applaud the older brother and the world would condemn the younger. But in God's economy it was the conviction that came upon the younger that is celebrated because what does the father want? He wants his son in his arms. I was always taken even before I'd read the book when I had first seen Rembrandt's famous The Return of the Prodigal.
But after reading Nouwen's book on the subject, it became an object of fascination for me. Rembrandt never fully explained who all the figures are in this masterpiece. We know that the prodigal there, broken and tattered clothes, one shoe fallen off, his ear, his face next to the father's heart and the father's tender, tender embrace. We know that's the father. We know that's the prodigal.
We're not told for sure. Is the figure on the right side, is this to represent the older brother? We know he was never actually in the scene but maybe many have said that artistically Rembrandt put him there. They're looking down, looking down on it, looking with a distant sense of observation and with disdain. There are, whether the camera captures it or not, there are shadowy figures that are also back in the dark. And Rembrandt was a master of light. And so you see that there are those that are just drifted into the darkness. Who are these figures that watch this spectacle of a son who ashamed his father and the father looking past all the shame because his love is so great. And what I love about the painting most of all is where your eye focuses and it comes to the light on the father's face and the light on the father's hand and I can't look at this masterpiece without thinking the Lord bless you, the Lord keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you.
That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Can you imagine what it would be like to be accepted perfectly? Envision it. Being free to be yourself with no fear of rejection. If you mess up people don't roll their eyes, make fun of you or love you less.
Imagine no more of that anxious feeling that you get deep down in your gut that makes you feel like the pressure is always on so you can never really relax. What you're imagining and longing for is a life with no shame. In Paradise, before sin came into the world, the Bible tells us only one thing about Adam and Eve's relationship.
They were naked and felt no shame. Ever since the fall the human heart has been riddled with shame. It's a lie that says until you measure up you can't be truly acceptable. Shame causes some to say I'll try to be perfect in order to be accepted and others to decide since I'll never measure up I might as well rebel.
Either way the heart is poisoned by shame and there is only one antidote, the grace of God in Jesus Christ. In his highly acclaimed book Free Yourself, Be Yourself, Pastor Alan Wright not only exposes the lies of shame, he leads you into a revolution of God's love that heals your soul. Discover freedom, joy and destiny as you shed performance based living and let God take the shame off you for good. It's a life changing full length book from Alan Wright.
Free yourself, be yourself. The Gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. Nowan who was such a brilliant man, such an intellect, such a teacher, so eloquent and yet he said as he wrote in his reflections and looking at this painting when he stared at the original for so many hours and he reflected about how much he said in my own life I wanted to be that one that's there in the Father's arms next to the heart of God and surrender and without thought about what others think but instead as an intellectual and an academician he said so often I've seen myself distant. I've identified with that too. A lot of my Christian life, earlier in my Christian life I felt like I could say all the right things. I could quote the scriptures and yet I felt like I was one of these figures a little bit in the distance, never quite the one just right there in the Father's embrace and yet that's where I want to be.
That's where we all want to be. We want to be there where we are in the brace of the Father and so I'm taken by this masterpiece of Rembrandt's and it brings some thoughts to mind that we learn from the story that you can always count on these differences between conviction of the Holy Spirit and of what shame does. Conviction of the Holy Spirit. If it's really God that's moving you and speaking to you it is going to lead you towards intimacy with the Father. The Lord does not want to speak to you, lead you or interact with you in a way that is going to push you away from His heart.
He's drawing you towards Him. So if you experience conviction it will bring intimacy but shame will bring distance. As we have been learning shame, you don't measure up, you're not worth being loved.
Until you measure up you're not going to be accepted. As we've learned that voice causes you to cover yourself up, hide and to distance yourself from the very love you need. Also you realize conviction offers relationship. The conviction of the Holy Spirit will lead you into a deepening relationship with God and as we have been learning shame on the other hand offers rules. Shame is never about relationship.
Shame is about rules. In this house we have to measure up. We got to keep up appearances.
We got to do this. It's about the rules and you hear it in the older brother. You hear what he's saying. He's saying I've been keeping all the rules.
Why isn't this being celebrated? And the Father is saying but everything I have is yours. You're missing my heart.
See the heart is for a relationship. Christianity is not a religion. It is not a religious system and it is certainly not a set of rules. It is a person, Jesus Christ and it is an invitation and a spiritual mystery to have Him abide with you and you abide with Him. What the Gospel is all about. Conviction of the Holy Spirit treats us like the heirs that we are. I just love this that the son comes home and he's rehearsing this speech about I'm not worthy to be called your son. The Father literally interrupts the speech and says bring the robe, bring the ring and bring the sandals.
Why? All of those were symbols of freedom, of honor, of authority, of royal standing. In other words you right now feel the worst you've ever felt about yourself and your life and you feel totally and completely unworthy but you are my son and you are my heir. No matter how much you have squandered your living over these past months. And so it is that shame may treat you like a slave but conviction of the Holy Spirit will treat you like an heir.
You can always, always count on that. If you're hearing a voice that is telling you your problem is that you're not keeping up all the rules and you need to start slaving more, that message of moralism, that religious legalism is from the pit of hell, that's not Jesus. It also reminds me that the conviction of the Holy Spirit moves quickly to celebration but shame always postpones the party. One of the symptoms of the unhealthy shame based home is that there is very little celebration. And in a very healthy home filled with the Holy Spirit there is celebration upon celebration.
When I got married my wife, I thought there was something wrong with the woman. She celebrated so much. My home when I was growing up and we had a little bit of celebration. We celebrated birthdays and you know Christmas.
But not, I mean you know you bring home straight A's in my family and nobody made a big deal of it or anything. Well my wife when I married her I thought what is wrong with her? She wanted to celebrate everything. You know just everything be celebrated. She loved to give gifts, celebrate things, honor people.
And then we had kids. I thought what is going on here until I began to get a better grasp of the gospel. You know the kingdom of God is described as a party. It is the great wedding banquet. The biggest of all celebrations was a wedding feast and that's what Jesus said the kingdom of God is like. It is an ongoing huge celebration. And anyway my wife helped me to learn much healthier because here's one of the things that happens. We can take this message to our homes that if our children perform well but they're not celebrated then what is the message?
The message is what's a guy got to do around here to get some affirmation? But if they're celebrated over even the little things what they can begin to realize is that life has joy and that I don't have to be perfect in order to be celebrated. Do you ever notice that even God, even the Lord himself when he created the first day let there be light and he said that's good. That's good. And he celebrated even though he hadn't finished it yet he just celebrated each step of creation.
So there's all the difference in the world between shame and conviction and if you begin to see the conviction of the Holy Spirit for what that wonderful gift really is it becomes actually attractive. Some years ago I saw it this way. I play golf and I talk about golf too much, wish I could play better golf, use too many golf illustrations but here comes one. So golfers love to get better. We're funny though as golfers, most adult golfers that is. They don't take very many lessons. We should take lessons.
But lessons really help. Well years ago I just was reading a golf magazine. I saw this article. This was many many years ago and it was quoting some of the figures that compensation that some of the pros would get for doing a business outing a day apart with some corporate outing and what astounded me was Greg Norman who at one time was number one player in the world. This was many many years ago. How much it cost to get Greg Norman for one day to come and hang out with your business? $200,000.
That was a long time ago too. And I remember thinking at that time I thought if that's Greg Norman how much would it cost to get Tiger Woods? You know the best golfer. I found out you can't get Tiger Woods.
He doesn't do them. But let's say you could have gotten Tiger Woods and he would charge a million dollars for a day. Let's say that I had a million dollars. Let's say I was crazy enough to spend that million dollars to get Tiger Woods for the day. Just imagine for just a moment that I got Tiger Woods for a day and Tiger Woods comes out and he is going to help teach me. He's going to and I stand up first he said alright well let me just see you hit a few and I get up there and I hold the club I get lined up for my first shot and Tiger goes hold on a second there Ali. He said let me work on that grip right there. I think you're a little too strong. Let's bring that grip that hand right hand back over here just a little bit. Could you imagine me saying to Tiger Woods don't tell me how to fix my grip.
Who do you think you are? I didn't bring you out here to teach me something like that. I'll hit it the way I want.
That would be the dumbest thing in the world. If I paid a million dollars to have the greatest golfer in the world come and give me a few pointers the last thing I'm going to do is say well don't tell me what to do. Instead I would embrace it of course every bit. I would count it a great honor that he was teaching me something. You have living in you the Holy Spirit. He is the greatest teacher in the world.
He's God and what's more is he loves you perfectly. So if the Holy Spirit is going to nudge you teach you convict you correct you it's not because he has condemnation towards you it's because he has so much affection for you. And so I invite you to not only recognize the difference between shame and conviction but reject the voices of shame and welcome the conviction of the Holy Spirit. That's the gospel Alan Wright and today's good news teaching shame or godly conviction from our series free yourself be yourself Pastor Alan is back in the studio here in just a few moments with today's parting good news thoughts stick with us unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at Pastor Alan.org. Can you imagine what it would be like to be accepted perfectly envision it being free to be yourself with no fear of rejection. If you mess up people don't roll their eyes make fun of you or love you less. Ever since the fall the human heart has been riddled with shame. It's a lie that says until you measure up you can't be truly acceptable. In his highly acclaimed book free yourself be yourself Pastor Alan Wright not only exposes the lies of shame he leads you into a revolution of God's love that heals your soul.
Discover freedom joy and destiny as you shed performance based living and let God take the shame off you for good. It's a life changing full length book from Alan Wright for yourself be yourself. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries.
Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website PastorAlan.org. Back here now with Pastor Alan and I think well-meaning Christians will sometimes compare the two or actually equate the two conviction and shame. Well I think one of the biggest challenges when I first preached the series Daniel was there were Christians that thought well don't we need shame we need shame. No we need the conviction of the Holy Spirit and it's entirely different as we have been learning. It's a radical thought but it's one I want to leave with our listeners. Shame is something that we want to reject and be healed of but conviction of the Holy Spirit is a gift and therefore the more we mature and understand it as a gift we wouldn't run from it we'd run toward it. And that doesn't mean that God wants us wallowing about in our sin and thinking about the thoughts of our sin. No it's just like when we feel distant from the Father it's not the Father that's moved and we're like the prodigal. Conviction is coming to yourself remembering all that God has for you and who you really are and as a foundational change in your life when you start thinking God's the greatest teacher in the world and I am so glad to be his student so I want everything he has to teach me. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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