Do you feel forgotten by God when you see Him blessing others? Do you battle anger, jealousy and bitterness when the Lord is gracious to your fellow brother/sister? Do you feel like you have invested so much into the Kingdom and others don’t? Do you try so hard to obey God and do all you can to live a holy life? Have you questioned Gods faithfulness recently?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you may be suffering from the older brother syndrome. This phrase was derived from the famous parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15: 11-32.
I first heard about the older brother syndrome from one of Pastor Debola Deji Kurunmi’s teaching. Upon hearing her analyse the parable, I realised that I was just like the older brother, I was suffering from this syndrome.
I firmly believe that both brothers had heart issues. The older brother just managed to conceal the desires of his heart in my own opinion, but it was revealed for all to see. Nothing is hidden under the sun; everything will come to light someday.
I have noticed that we only emphasize on the younger brother. However, they were both in dire need of their Father’s grace and mercy.
The older brother syndrome usually manifests as self-righteousness, and when you are self-righteous, it becomes difficult to accept God’s love, grace and mercy.
Another way to identify this syndrome is when a person believes that God is pleased by their commitment. This misguided belief then becomes the driving force of their loyalty to God’s Kingdom.
Such a person forgets that our works do not save us, or perhaps they have no clue.
Unfortunately, organized religion reinforces this idea that our works save us. This idea isn’t necessarily accurate, and so it’s a lie from the enemy! If you believe that your works save you, then I urge you to seek out the truth from Gods Word. Don’t wait until you realize the hard way as I did. Ephesians 2:8-9 says ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’
I had a conversation with a friend about the season where I had the symptoms of the older brother syndrome, and he described the reason for such symptoms as a foundational issue in my relationship with God. I thought about it later on, and I agree with him.
The truth is never easy to admit; however, several people have foundational issues that must be resolved. We have been manipulated and made to believe that the more we serve, then God is moved to release more. So, what you find with most believers is this entitled mentality. (I have been there so no judging!)
Our inheritance in Christ isn’t based on our works but a relationship with the Father.
I urge you to exchange works for a relationship with God. When your heart isn’t right; it does not matter what you do for God, that service would not be acceptable to Him. Whatever we do for God must be done with understanding and stem from a place of relationship.
Some of us may need to take a hiatus from works and seek to know this God that we believe in. The posture of your heart must be right for you to walk in all that God has for you.
I did that for some time, and it was the most refreshing thing ever!
Please don’t be like the older brother and I; your works can’t save you. We all need Gods grace and mercy, and we must come to that realisation always, or else we stand a chance of missing the whole point; Which is having a relationship with the Father.
Have a blessed weekend!
Oh, by the way I totally recommend Pastor Debola’s teachings. Here is a link to a playlist of some of her teachings on YouTube.