“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” (Luke 15:17)
We must remember, this is a young man, or even perhaps a grown man, who has sought after diligently and attempted, in his own way, to escape from the lust of the flesh and eyes. He did not wake up one morning and just decide to leave for the “Big city” with no forethought, this had been on his mind for some time. He was not satisfied with the life he had, although it sounds as if his family may not have been extremely rich, they were far from destitute, he had apparently traveled first to the place that he wanted his inheritance money to travel to, had seen the sights, had tasted the compelling draw of the world, and wanted it for his own, or at least a part of it.
He did not want it badly enough though to simply strike out on his own, to work for it with nothing to start with, he wanted everything and he wanted it now. It is what Satan’s world has always taught men. The lust grew in him, perhaps over many years, his mind continued to seek the pleasures of the far away land, the pleasures of the season of sin (Heb. 11:25) consumed him enough that he finally got up the courage to ask his father to give him now what he would have received upon the death of the head of the household.
The bowl of pottage was too enticing, (Gen. 25:30) without it, he would die, at least in his mind. Those long months, those perhaps years of desire were finally fulfilled, he had a bag of money, great anticipation and happiness in his heart, he forsook all and left for that far country to live the life of pleasure, and he held nothing back. No words of wisdom could sway him, the lust of the flesh and eyes would now be fulfilled.
How long does a man need to be a prodigal son before it can be factually perceived that they were never part of the family of God in the first place? “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)
If we have any kind of lust within us, no matter what form it has taken, and we do not acquiesce to that sin, if we do not ask for the inheritance, but instead realize its place within us, never giving in to it, recognizing it is there, but not submitting or falling into that temptation, is that what is called “carrying our cross?”
I believe that every human being, saved, lost and wicked, has within them a flame, a fire if you will that will never be quenched in this life. For the saved, sinful desires kept at bay by a love for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and our own free will, those things that we carry continually in this life that will finally be removed when we are glorified by the Lord. “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Those that will die in their sins and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire will forever know these desires and will forever know that not one of them will ever be attained.
We must also realize that this young man, this prodigal son, did not return to his father until he was completely destitute, those friends he made in the world forsook him when he could no longer provide entertainment for them, and he found that he did not want what that place really was, only what it could offer him if he could afford it. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) It just took him a while to understand what the world truly is.
You will take nothing with you to heaven that you have accumulated in this world, and if your happiness and joy has been in this world, and all it has to offer, it is doubtful at best that you will even see the gates of the kingdom of God. Why let those things here persuade you, why allow yourself to be drawn to that which will eventually be destroyed by fervent heat? (2 Peter 3:10) “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matt. 6:20)
Carry that cross, recognize not only its existence but what it is, at that gate the Lord of mercy will remove it from you, no one brings their cross into heaven.