This is amazing! I've just read this, and I think it sums up much better than I did, what I was trying to say last time!
It is taken from the book 'Reclaiming Adoption'. This bit is written by Dan Cruver
''Few things hinder action within the Christian life
more than being unsure of God’s love for us personally.
Returning for a moment to the story of the prodigals, in
Children of the Living God, Sinclair Ferguson sheds a
particular kind of light on the prodigal son who left home.
As he was returning to his father, the prodigal planned to
say that he was no longer worthy to be called a son, which
was certainly true. Convinced that, in the depth of his
rebellion and rejection of the father, he had lost all hope of
receiving the father’s love, he intended to offer himself as
a slave, hoping merely to survive. Little does the prodigal
know, however, that his father eagerly awaits his return.
Ferguson sees something in the prodigal’s thinking
that parallels how we as Christians often think of God
and his fatherly love for us:
'Jesus was underlining the fact that—despite
assumptions to the contrary—the reality of the love
of God for us is often the last thing in the world to
dawn upon us. As we ﬁx our eyes upon ourselves,
our past failures, our present guilt, it seems impossible
to us that the Father could love us. Many Christians
go through much of their life with the prodigal’s
suspicion. Their concentration is upon their sin and
failure; all their thoughts are introspective.'
When the prodigal son says, “I will arise and go to
my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned
against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy
to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired
servants’” (Luke 15:18-19), he is thinking in terms of
wages earned rather than extravagant love and grace
received. It’s as if he is thinking, “I ended up in the far
country by squandering my father’s wealth, so maybe I
can earn my way back into his house.”
When we as believers relate to God the Father as this
prodigal son relates to his father, we are slow to return to
God after we sin. We don’t anticipate—let alone expect—
his fatherly embrace. And when we do return to him,
we think of him primarily as our master and not our
Father. As a result, real Christian joy is absent, passionate
Christian living is lacking, and Christian mission is
Christians who doubt God’s love for them will
not mobilize for mission. Unless we know the Father
delights in us even as he delights in Jesus, we will lack the
emotional capital necessary to resist complacency and
actively engage in missional living. The only people who
can truly turn their eyes outward in mission are those
who knowingly live within and enjoy the loving gaze of
their heavenly Father.
I believe that a biblical understanding of God’s
Fatherhood will cause us to be better able to look outside
ourselves in service to others. If we are not conﬁdent
of his love, our eyes will turn inward, and our primary
concerns will be our needs, our lack, our disappointment,
rather than the needs of those around us. As a result,
we’ll be afraid to take risks or do the hard things even
if they are necessary. Or we will do the externals of
missional living as an attempt to earn God’s acceptance or
to keep him and our fellow-Christians off our backs. We
will relate to him as if we are wage-earners rather than as
his dearly beloved children, the ones in whom he delights.
The logic of wage-earning does not ﬂow out of the of
the gospel of grace. The gospel is joyful news because it
speaks to us of the Father’s love that has come to us freely
in Jesus Christ.''