The independent prodigal started off with his inheritance. He had enough wealth to believe he was secure. He was going to enjoy everything without restraint and had no long-range plan other than ‘carpe diem’ – seize the day.

The full wallet adventure to meet girls and party ended as a sickly existence of miserable proportions. All of his potential opportunities and accumulated security was gone. He was at the bottom and had no more options.

The bottom comes after a series of bumpy falls. Who had taken advantage of him and what was he now trying to leave behind? Unless you set your eyes on home, you will simply drop to new lows. One rotten relationship prepares you to accept a worse one. One gambling loss opens your vanity to considering greater risks. Desperate appetites will cause you to do steal and humiliate yourself to get the next fix.

If you want to leave the mess you find yourself in, you need to first know where you are going. As long as you maintain your claim to independence, you will simply move out of one mess and into another further down the road. It’s like helping a hoarder move. They take all the excess and junk with them to the next place.

At some point, you must decide to leave the mess and return to God’s care. To relinquish one’s independence in this way may be the most difficult hurdle, but in fact becomes the easy way. Surrendering to God is the only cure for a hard heart.

Proverbs 28:
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,
    but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

If you can still tremble before God, your spiritual heart is healthy. If you harden your heart, you will continue in the downward spiral.