I was a little taken aback the other day, after a church meeting, when the Lord pointed out to me that, now and again, the elder brother in me rises to the surface, that judgemental, “I know best person.” In fact, now that the Lord has pointed this out, I can see that this ‘elder brother’ figure has been around for some time, but I’ve noticed that, over the past few weeks, he seems to have developed more confidence to show his face. I suppose in previous times I would have said I was growing into a ‘grumpy old woman’.
You would have thought that the older we get, the more understanding, patient and loving we would become. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. It’s interesting to note that the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son becomes bad tempered and grumpy when he doesn’t get his own way, or what he feels he deserves.
This raises two questions for me. Is it inevitable as we grow older that we become more like the grumpy elder brother? Gladly I’m pleased to say that this isn’t necessarily so, because I do know many kind and thoughtful older people. So, my second question is this: “If it’s not inevitable, how do we avoid him having a place in our lives?”
It would seem to me that one way (and maybe the only way) is to become more like our other elder brother, the Lord Jesus. According to the Scriptures, the longer He lives within us through the Holy Spirit, the more like Him we will become. ‘But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these’ (Galatians 5:22-23).
That is good news for us, for Jesus is long suffering, forgiving, kind and non-judgmental. ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (Romans 7:25, NIV).
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Jesus and for His life within us. We pray that He will transform us from being the elder brother into gracious brothers and sisters in Christ for His name’s sake. Amen.
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