Whatever your past or your present, whatever your current faith-walk looks like, we all face the temptation to distance ourselves from Father God, exchanging His acceptance for an outsider’s view. As it were, leaving the living room and moving into God’s bunkhouse. It’s a daily process to allow the Holy Spirit to remind us of who God really is, and who we really are.
I want to tell you if you have never been in the Father’s House, it is a wonderful place, and He loves to play with his kids. He doesn’t get offended by laughing. When my children were small and I would return home after a trip, sometimes after two or three weeks, I would pull in the garage and hear those little voices and those feet running to the garage door, and they were saying, “Daddy’s Home!!! Daddy’s Home!!! Daddy’s Home!!! Daddy’s Home!!!” And I opened the door, and there they stood. They would raise their hands—not in worship—but because they wanted me to pick them up! They wanted me to hold them.
The Father’s House is a place where children can be held—in the living room, in the family room. I used to love to get down and blow on my children’s bellies and make those weird sounds and tickle them. Now I do it with my grandson. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing my kids full of joy. And my hobby is to spend my life when I am home to make them and my wife happy. That brings the greatest happiness to me.
I don’t want a servant. I could buy, I could hire, I could rent servants. I want children who know their father’s love and who are not afraid to come to me. Some of you have never known God that way, as a Father. You have never felt Him and never experienced His nearness. Some of you did and fell into sin, and you have come back, but your guilt is so bad, you don’t feel like you could ever be used again. You don’t think you are worthy to come into the living room. You feel that you are not worthy. You feel that you don’t deserve to sit in the family room and let Him play with you anymore, to sit at the dining table and share with Him your dreams and interests and have intimate time with Father.
STAYING IN THE BUNKHOUSE
Instead you have fallen into a trap of the enemy, and he has convinced you that though you are forgiven, you are no longer worthy to be in the Father’s presence in the big house. You are forgiven and you know it, but you have relegated yourself to the bunkhouse, the migrant shack where the servants live, but not the children. And you have decided that it is just good enough to be a servant, to have just food and clothes, to be cared for by God because you know God will take care of his servants.
But the Father is saying, “Don’t you know that is a trap of the enemy?” He doesn’t want His children living like servants. He wants His children to serve Him because they love Him, but they are not to have a servant mentality. That’s what I call “bunkhouse thinking.”
Today in the Church, we have not understood the mercy and the grace of God. Sometimes we have not understood His wrath, and we have behaved without any fear of God. The other side of that is failing to understand his mercy and his love.
OUT OF THE BUNKHOUSE
It’s time to come out of the bunkhouse. If you are in a bunkhouse relationship with God, it’s time to come out. Let him LOVE you. If your answer to the Father is the same as the older son’s (in the Prodigal Son parable), “Look, all these years I have been slaving with you and never disobeyed your orders,” — if that’s your response to the Father, you’re caught in legalism. My prayer for you is that God would open your eyes and soften your heart so that you can come to him. I pray that He will draw you with his love, in whatever place you’re in, whatever season you’re in, whether you feel that you’re in a valley or on a mountaintop, the time is now to experience more of the Father’s love.
As we so often say here at Global, there is more. There is always more: more of God’s love to experience, more of his presence in which to walk every day, more to learn about him, more depths to experience his healing, new heights to experience in his perspective. Let’s agree together that this week, we’re going to stop fighting his grace (Holy Spirit, open our eyes to walls we don’t know we’ve built) and play on the living room floor with the Father.
P.S. This is a slightly-edited excerpt from a larger message I’ve written called Out of the Bunkhouse. If my post here has meant a lot to you, and you want to read more, click to get the full book →