Are You Ready to Return?


Being in harmony with God gives you the peace you need to be in harmony with others, making you happier. Being disconnected from God leaves you disconnected from others—and unhappy. Learn what else you lose when you’re spiritually lost.

“Happy are the people whose God is the LORD.” (Psalm 144:15, CSB)

Over the last couple days, we’ve been looking at what people actually lose when they are spiritually lost. Not only do they lose their direction, protection, and potential, but they also lose their happiness.

When you’re in harmony with God, it gives you the peace you need to be in harmony with others, making you a happier person. But when you’re disconnected from God, you’re often disconnected from others—and unhappy.

We see this happen in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. It’s about a young man who left his father, taking his inheritance with him and wasting it on careless living. Luke 15:14 says, “He spent everything he had . . . and he was left without a thing” (GNT). His recklessness had left him lonely and miserable.

The truth is, nothing destroys happiness faster than conflict in a relationship. So, when the young man had a conflict with his dad, it created a strained relationship. This led to resentment, guilt, and regret.

This story reminds us of how unhappy we are when we’re in conflict with our heavenly Father. We weren’t designed to live disconnected from God. That’s why thumbing our nose at him and going our own way never works.

But the moment we say, “God, I’m tired of living the way I’ve been living,” he runs out to meet us. He takes the initiative. He even celebrates, like the father did with his prodigal son: “Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him . . . We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life” (Luke 15:22-24 NLT).

Maybe you’re saying, “Pastor Rick, I used to feel close to God, but I don’t feel close to him anymore, and I’ve lost my happiness.” Remember: God didn’t move; you moved. He’s the unmovable.

Know that God sees you as extremely valuable and wants you to return to him. And when you do, he will be “filled with love and compassion” (Luke 15:20 NLT), like the father with his prodigal child.

Returning to your heavenly Father and being in right relationship with him is the only way to true joy and happiness!

Talk It Over
How close to God do you feel right now? How is it affecting your level of joy?

In what ways has a strained relationship affected your overall happiness?

What steps can you take today to resolve conflict in a difficult earthly relationship? What about in your relationship with God?

Run Back to God

If you’re tired of living away from God, just say this prayer to him today, and he will hear and respond:

“God, I know I haven’t been living the way you want me to. Even though I know the right thing to do, I’ve turned away from you and chosen the things that hurt your heart. Thank you that you’ve never turned away from me. You’ve never left me or changed how you feel about me. Thank you for loving me still!

“Father, I choose today to turn a different direction, toward you, and start seeking again your kingdom and your righteousness. Help me to trust your love and your direction in my life so that I will be faithful to follow you all the days of my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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