The Prodigal Son’s journey away from home began with a desire. Perhaps he wanted to leave behind some of the restrictions that come with living under a parent’s roof. Or maybe he wanted more money to pursue life’s pleasures with friends. Whatever the case, his desire gave birth to self-deceptive reasoning, which assumes, There’s no harm in what I am doing. I deserve this. That thinking led to a decision—to prematurely ask for his inheritance—and to his departure, both from home and from what he had been taught.
A Christian who has turned away from God follows a path similar to the prodigal’s. It begins in our mind with a craving for something other than what we have. The longer we allow the idea to linger, the stronger our desire becomes. When we cling to a yearning that is outside of God’s protective will, then we likewise deceive ourselves and find ways to justify what we want. We will base decisions on our faulty reasoning and move away from the Lord to fulfill our self-centered dreams. Like the wayward son, we may enjoy the pleasures of the world for a time, but ultimately, we will find ourselves without the essentials common to all mankind—unconditional love, security, and a meaningful purpose for living.
We have an enemy who seeks to divert us from the heavenly Father’s will, to a mindset that places desires above God and “flesh” tendencies that prefer pleasure over obedience. To avoid self-deception, make Scripture your basis for living—and adjust your thought life and choices accordingly. (See Rom. 12:2.)