1 Father, 2 Sons, 3 Positions: Which Describes You?

The Prodigal Son‘I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father.’ (1 John 2:14)

The quality that I personally believe is most vital for prophetic ministry is an intimate relationship with the Father.

This kind of intimacy comes from having a revelation of, and personal encounter with, God as a loving Father. [1]


The Unbelieving Heart of the Believer

My mother-in-law used to speak fervently about ‘evangelising the unbelieving heart of the believer.’ This spoke of her call to minister healing to the hearts of Christians. [2]

My husband Malcolm (aka The Hunk) and I were passionately involved in world missions, and her favourite quote was a continual irritation to me. ‘What,’ I thought, ‘could be more important than evangelising the heart of the unbeliever?’

A Crisis of Faith

‘What has happened to all your joy?’ (Galatians 4:15)

By 2009, Mum’s voice began to be silenced as Alzheimer’s robbed her of the ability to convey what was on her heart. But her vision was to finally bear fruit in my life.

I had not realized the contradiction that was within me until burnout brought it to the surface.

After years of exhausting Christian service—comprised of unwise choices of my own making—I could finally go no further. The approval I had sought to work for was out of reach. My crisis of faith was summed up by the question I cried out at that time:

‘Are You the God I am afraid that You are—a task-master whose approval I can never win? Or the Father I have longed for—a God of grace and joy?’

One day, as I voiced the question for the umpteenth time, I was surprised to hear God’s voice in response. His answer to me was, in brief, ‘You choose.’

I took time to consider the evidence of

  • The Bible’s teaching
  • The heart of the Father that Jesus demonstrated in the Gospels, and
  • The gracious love of the Holy Spirit that I recognised and felt for others, but failed to perceive for myself.

Finally, I made a decision and a recommitment. ‘I believe that You are the God of grace and joy—and I receive You as my Lord and Saviour.

The matter was settled, and the unbelieving heart of this believer was converted. My spiritual eyes were opened to see my loving Father.

One Father, Two Sons, Three Positions

Following this revelation of God as Father, I moved into a period of recovery, during which Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son came to life for me. [3]

At that time I noticed three positions of sonship that were illustrated by Jesus’ parable, and I saw aspects of my journey in each of them.

1. The Lost Son

The younger son became separated from his father and his father’s household through sin and rebellion. After squandering his inheritance, he became destitute. He then found employment with a harsh foreign master who sent him to the fields to feed pigs, whilst not providing him with the food that he himself needed to live.

Ironically—in spite of the clear parallels between the lost son and someone who is a non-Christian or a backslider—at my lowest point, I mostly identified with the younger son.

My master had been a system of good works. I too had spent all that I had; not on ‘riotous’ living, but on ‘right’ living—doing the right things in my own strength. Now I was starving spiritually. But like the lost son, I finally came to my senses—it was time to come home.

2. The Serving Son

The older brother could have enjoyed the privileges of sonship and intimacy with the father. But although he lived in the Father’s household, he laboured as a servant.

His lack of intimacy with his father was demonstrated by his failure to rejoice at what his father rejoiced in—the return of his lost brother.

The older brother served for his future inheritance, but did not partake of the portion that was available to him in the present. Instead of enjoying what was his by right, he complained to his father, ‘You never gave me…’

I recognised that like the older brother, my focus had been on bringing pleasure to God by faithfully serving, performing and gaining results. Deep down, I felt I needed to do something to earn God’s blessing and favour.

My Christian life lacked joy. I began to see that I had been working for God’s Kingdom whilst neither enjoying, nor being fully aware of, the Kingdom inheritance that is available to me now.

3. The Embraced Son

Coming to his senses, the lost son returned, penitent, to a surprising reception. Instead of the father he was expecting to meet—a charitable employer who would take care of him as a servant—he discovered a love-consumed, waiting, embracing father.

His father ordered a feast, brought him into the household, and put a robe, ring and sandals on him—symbols of restored sonship.

Since the ‘conversion’ of my heart, I have come to realise that there is nothing I can do to gain my Father’s approval. I already have it, along with His unconditional love and acceptance. Rejection and low self esteem has fallen away. I know that I give Him pleasure, not through what I do, but simply because I am His child.

My focus is now centred upon my intimate relationship with God as being the most important thing—and I have fallen in love with Him in a greater way. Out of that love I can freely love others.

In the past, I struggled with an orphan mindset. But now, knowing Abba Father and being with Him gives me the greatest joy—abundant and effective service flows out of that place of rest. And finally, I am learning that there is a Kingdom inheritance available to me now—not just in the future.

Although I sometimes move out of this position, I recognise when I do and continually find my way home to the Father’s waiting arms.


I pray that you also will discover something in this study, as well as my own story, to move you closer in your own relationship with God the Father.

I also encourage you to follow this up by reading and prayerfully considering the original passage in Luke 15:11-32.

One Father, Two Sons, Three Positions: Which of These Describes You?


Notes:

[1] Jesus came to reveal God as Father (John 17:6-8, John 14:9-11) and to restore us to relationship with God as His children. This revelation of the Father accounts for some of the key distinctions between Old and New Testament prophetic ministry.

See also:

How To Weigh Up What The Prophets Are Saying Pt 2

And look out for the following post in future weeks: The Difference Between Old And New Testament Prophecy

[2] This expression, ‘evangelising the unbelieving heart of the believer,’ is a quote by John and Paula Sandford. In their book ‘The Transformation Of The Inner Man’, they write, ‘Paradoxically, we are healed by being taught to put no confidence whatsoever in our own flesh, simply to rest in Him.’ P10, Phil 3:3

Sandford, J & P.  The Transformation of the Inner Man. 1982. Bridge Publishing. 412p

[3] In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus told a parable concerning a lost son who returned home to his father, in response to religious criticism of His association with ‘sinners.’At the time Jesus spoke this parable, the elder brother was illustrative of the listening Pharisees who were critical of Jesus’ fellowship with the sinners they despised. Sadly, many of them would end up shut outside of God’s Presence, whilst the grace of God would be extended to repentant sinners who put their faith in Jesus.

This same grace is available through Jesus to you and me today.


© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

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16 thoughts on “1 Father, 2 Sons, 3 Positions: Which Describes You?

  1. As I read the blog, I felt I identified with both the younger son and the older son, god touched me afresh too, this also occurred last week when the team from healing rooms came to the school of empowered ministry at C3 church whitehorse, and god touched me and I felt such a freedom and a release, that I am no longer an orphan, and that I don’t have to earn gods love, I am now learning that god accepts me the way I am, and that there is a kingdom inheritance that is made available for me, by my heavenly father;
    My heart is in the process of being completely restored, and I now have no doubt that god loves me unconditionally.

    • That’s so awesome, Beverley! Isnt it great how Father is bringing this revelation, and the healing that goes with it, to so many of His children at this time. The church is going to be a powerful witness to our ‘fatherless’ generation.
      Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. How do you start to believe that God loves you? I am struggling with having a passion for anything, especially God in my life. Everything fell apart, I didn’t think God loved me because of a prophecy, and I was told I was going to hell. How do you get back to God from there? I read and read and read and try to do everything everyone says, but nothing. What’s keeping me back and in a continual cycle of disappointment and hurt? How do I hear God for myself when its been such a long time?

    • Hi Lolli, it always grieves me when I hear of a situation like you experienced.
      The person who prophesied did not represent the Father’s heart to you, just their own judgmentalism. This can leave a deep wound that we need be be healed from.
      Have you had any specific prayer related to this? We had some conversations with someone who had a similar experience in the comments section here:
      http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2009/09/10/how-do-i-know-a-personal-prophecy-or-dream-interpretation-is-from-god/
      There might be some ideas in there that help you.
      Have a read and let me know what you think. I recommend finding someone to pray with you and break off the curse of the previous prophecy, then pray for healing. It’s possible you have already done this.
      I pray today that you experience His touch on your life and that the truth you know of the Father’s love for you will be made real–poured out in your heart.

  3. thank you thank you thank you. Left the prayer room with instructions to look up the orphan spirit, and voila, I have been reading all of the search results the entire afternoon. Now I know why God has been “making” me to lie down in green pastures for a very long time now, unable to do pretty much anything. They told me to look it up for my husband who has never known who his biological father is, and has had major issues with rejection, abandonment, rage, addictions…., and everything i have read has completely fit the bill, but to my surprise, much of it fit the bill for me as well, and has been passed on to my children. It stops now! I am praying the orphan spirit and everything that goes with it off of my family in Jesus’ name. Please pray in agreement with us! I finally have true hope again. I believe this is the key to saving our marriage and family and finally setting us totally free to live the life Christ died for us to have!

    • Amen and amen! Yes, Heather I totally agree in prayer for you, may the breakthroughs continue to flow in your life, marriage and family. He is a good, good Father!

  4. When you made this statement ‘Deep down, I felt I need to do something to earn God’s blessing and favour’. I can relate with this very well because that’s the way I fell most times. I need God to help me as he has helped you.

    • Hi Favour, recognising that is the first and best place to start. I pray that you will continue to encounter God and grow in the revelation of His Fatherhood and grace.

  5. Thank you, is a blessing to me.Your messages has renewed part of my life, i love reading the word of God and am getting somewhere I thank God he given heart to His people even those you have never seen. Receive the blessing of serving.

  6. Hi Helen,

    Discovering some treasures in your archive. Just yesterday, God told me that I have been “the lost son” and “the serving son” and am now about to experience the joy of “the loving father” when a “backslider” finally returns to our Heavenly Father’s house. Thanks for sharing your journey thus far with us.

  7. Hi Helen the journey of the heart is so fascinating into the arms of the Father and so varied and tailor made to our uniqueness. So I love your story…which resonates in some parallels with my own. I thought I found Jesus at the age of 4 years in a Methodist Sunday School, only to learn 30 years later He found me. Then at 12 years I invited him into my heart and thought as long as I served Him and did what was right, honouring my parents and helping others everything would be good. Then at 32 years, married nine years I was not attending church since being married, I found myself in a wilderness, recommitted my life during a Billy Graham crusade in 1980-81? Then was filled with Holy Spirit shortly after in an Anglican Hall in the attendance of a Catholic Priest. I fell in love with Jesus all over again through the Holy Spirit who sheds love abroad to our hearts and the love language of the Spirit that came with the Love Package! And I learned to wait on Him for assignments over the next thirty years, but it wasn’t until 2005 I experienced the Bridal paradigm through Bob Hartley (IHOP-Kansas City) and then in 2013 through burnout and the dark night of the soul, Jesus showed me the Father was waiting with open arms. He was waiting for me in my grief, my mess and loss of so many things! So in rebellion I had squandered the gifts the Father had given and done it all in my own strength and performance.

    I had separated out from my earthly father at the age of 3 years and hence viewed my Heavenly Father with the same lenses; too busy, His part; no value on my part….rejection and abandonment….so I must perform well to be acceptable. Praise God for Truth to overcome the lies in the lie drawer. Still learning to come back to the place of REST after assignments and look into His eyes of delightful jealous love.

  8. I also identified with the orphan spirit through similar circumstances of burnout and dark night of the soul…I believed there was nothing I had to do to impress the Father, but my own disappointment with lack of nurture with my own father, still had me locked into performance to bring Him pleasure. Through some prayer and ministry, I had a picture/vision of myself about 8 years old, sitting in the heavenly places at the counsel table of the Lord; the Father and I, seemed to be the only ones sitting, the elders and others were standing around in groups. Then Abba caught my eye and beckoned me to come to Him and put his arms around me and placed me on His lap. From that time I had an emotional healing and also like you, when I get out of sync with that encounter and I realise, I look where I am; look to where He is and now as a Princess bride
    turn to Him. Together we laugh at my childlike attempts to impress Him.

    I also identified with the older son, in his “work hard attempts to gain approval” and then his critical and judgmental attitude toward his brother. He was unable to enter in the joy of the Father because he didn’t know his Father. From what I understand an orphan is not one who doesn’t have a father, but one who doesn’t know his father. I am so grateful that Jesus has revealed the heart of the Father and His love to me – things make so much more sense!

  9. Thank u so much. I read through all d articles and they’ve blessed me greatly. I am not an orphan, God is my father and he wants to do great things in and through me. He even wants to show me off to the world. I have also come to know my spiritual pathways and now I can grow continually in God my Father. I could go on and on miss. Thank u and God bless and reward u greatly in Jesus name. Amen