In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31), Jesus describes three ways of thinking: how we think about ourselves when we have done something wrong, how we think about ourselves when we have done something right, and how God thinks about us.
The younger brother knew he had messed up but he chose to return to his father’s house and beg to work as a slave. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). There was no hesitation from the father. The moment he saw his son he began expressing his love. God is this loving father. It does not matter how much of our inheritance we waste, or how long we wander without Him, the moment we take a step and return to Him, He will run to us with loving arms. He will clothe us with the robes of his nature, give us his ring with authority, place new sandals on our feet so we can learn to walk in a new way, and kill the fattened calf for our abundant joy. When we come before the Lord He has the best for us, He is not holding anything back.
The older brother thought he was doing everything right. He worked diligently to please his father and earn his inheritance. However, when he spoke to his father he had a slave mentality. He was jealous and angry because his brother got a party when he didn’t, but it was never his father who limited him. The father’s response was the same for both sons, “All that is mine is yours.” No matter what you think you did, or have to do, to deserve the Fathers love, you are wrong. The only thing you have to do is come before Him. All that the Father has is yours.