We were all made to know the love of a father. If the New Testament is our witness, then the image of a father is God’s favorite way of relating to us. Who he is, and what he has for us is chiefly understood and experienced in the father/child relationship. This is why I chose to start the fall off by teaching on the Father Heart of God. Certainly I could have chosen a subject that seemed more practical on the surface, like How to Raise Godly Kids in an Ungodly World or How to be Jesus in the Workplace (I’ll actually be teaching on these next year), but the reality is,
our kids need parents who are secure in their own identity as children of God. Our co-workers will be most blessed as we are trusting in the unchanging love of the Father, our identity lifted above our latest performance review and secure in being a dearly loved child.
Satan’s top priority is to destroy our hopes of having this kind of relationship with God. If he can’t destroy it, he’ll do his best to distort it. (Just look at Genesis 3
to see an example of how he did this successfully with Eve.) He doesn’t really care how we perceive God as long as it’s not as a good and loving Father. Satan will settle for us to think of God as a prison warden, watching our every move, just looking to pounce on an infraction. He loves it when we look at God as a hard-driving boss, who we can never seem to please no matter how hard we work. If Satan can’t keep us from salvation, he’ll settle for our making our faith all about not committing really bad sins, coming to church on Sunday, and living above average moral lives, as if God were a passionless scorekeeper. If we relate to God as other than Father, then Satan has, in some measure, succeeded.
The reality is God wants nothing less than for us to be wrapped up in his loving arms just like Jesus showed us in Matthew 19:13-14. Remember, that after rebuking the disciples and hugging the children who’d come to him, Jesus explained that the only way for us to enter into the fullness of his will was likewise to come as children approaching God as Father.
Do you see how primary this is? If we get this mixed up, everything else seems to follow. Don’t we all see examples in our own families of the conflict and confusion that arises when children resist the role of their parents? Until our children accept that they’re the children and we’re the parents, there’s not much hope of harmony or unity, is there? But, when our children receive us as the parents, trusting and submitting to our loving authority, then the door to great blessing, security and joy is flung open; life is good at home! Our children first have to relate to us rightly. So it is with us and God.
We must settle for nothing less than relating to him as our Loving Father. We must pass every thought or perception we have about him through the filter of his compassionate “fatherly-ness.” As we do, we begin to see other aspects of our lives fall into place. Resting in God as Father changes the way we approach our worries and responsibilities. Responding to him as a child, fully assured of our beloved status, brings freedom and confidence at the deepest level that is practically translated into strength and wisdom for living.
How do you do this? Start by determining to know him as Father. (If this hard due to your experience with your own father, then consider signing up for our Freedom Prayer Ministry to see if God might reveal the root of your struggle.) Begin to study the Bible, looking for how God reveals his loving and compassionate character. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to relate to God as Father. (This is actually the role of the Holy Spirit, described in Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15.) Remember, this is God’s heart for you. As you decide to seek him as Father, you can expect him to respond and meet you there, just like a good daddy would do.