7 Road Signs to the Prodigal Path

Artwork: "The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt 1669

“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt 1669

This author is a returning prodigal son of our Father in heaven. I suspect that you have ventured at least a little ways down the prodigal path yourself. As the future unfolds, this website will focus more on more on warning those who might become prodigals and in pointing current prodigals back home. After all, it is with the Father at his place that we find our greatest joy, our greatest security and our greatest blessings.

In this article, let us consider the mindset of the prodigal son as described by Jesus in Luke 15. Before this young man took a single step down the prodigal path, we can see the indicators that made his fateful journey possible. As we look at our own lives, are any of those same signposts on our paths? If so, it is time to flee quickly into the presence of the Father. Run to him and enjoy him.

And he said, “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 is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. (Luke 15:11-13 ESV)

The signposts that point to this prodigal path are seven. The would be prodigal should make a u-turn (repent) when these signs appear on his path.

Signpost #1. The would be prodigal may continue to address his Father properly, but he ignores the responsibilities and joys of being the son.

This prodigal son in Luke 15 still address his father as such, even as he prepares to wound his father deeply. By using this respectful address, he is acknowledging that what he wants comes from his father. We may use the proper verbiage without having the proper devotion. When you speak of God as Father, as Lord or with any of the titles fitting his character, are they simply familiar words lacking in the substance of what they mean?

Signpost #2. The would be prodigal values his Father’s things more than he values his Father.

This young man was not concerned about his father or his father’s affairs. He merely wanted what his father had. Do we focus more on the blessings than on the blesser? Are our eyes looking intently at the Father’s hands while we ignore his face? Are you placing value in things rather than in the person of the Father?

Signpost #3. The would be prodigal looks more to the temporal than to the eternal.

He was all about the here and now. He wanted to enjoy life and enjoy it now. Little did he regard the future. Little did he consider that a day of reckoning might occur. In what time frame are you placing your treasure? Are you all about the present with no regard for eternity?

Signpost #4. The would be prodigal has little regard for his brother.

The elder brother does not come out of this story unscathed. However, his sour attitude towards his younger brother was fueled by the prodigal brother’s callousness. The prodigal brother did not demonstrate love to his older brother. He left with stuff while his brother remained to work. We must continually hear the words to love the Lord and to love one another. Loving your brother is a sign that you are in the family. You will never properly relate to your brother if you are running out on your father.

Signpost #5. The would be prodigal thinks all will be well with a change of scenery.

He thought he would be happy…over there. He was not content to be where he was. He wanted to be somewhere else. You know, it was the grass is greener on the other side of the fence thing. We may move about geographically, but stick close to the Father as he leads you. This is a call for contentment.

Signpost #6. The would be prodigal was willing to squander what the Father had made.

This man squandered the property he received from his father. He operated with the easy-come, easy-go mentality. He gave no thought to all of the years of his father’s labor and planning for what he now possessed. Gratitude for for our Father has created should cause us to treasure and not squander the good things from his hand.

Signpost #7. The would be prodigal craved reckless living.

He knew that reckless living was forbidden in his father’s house. He wanted a taste of that lifestyle. He wanted a life without restraints. No curfews, no forbidden delicacies, not restricted locations. He wanted it all. He would discover what all prodigals discover – forbidden fruit makes one sick.

The story in Luke 15 ends well. Their is joy and celebration. I’m grateful for the way the Lord has treated me in drawing back to himself. But, oh how I wish those wasted years had been filled with delighting in the Lord and enjoying him.

I urge you not to turn down this prodigal path. Look for any of these signposts and avoid the directions to which they point.