As you grow spiritually, God’s desire is that you increasingly know Him as Father and His Father-heart in your life each day.
One of the great declarations of the Bible is that God is Our Father. The Bible tells us of the amazing closeness, intimacy, warmth and tender-heartedness of God, Our Father. When received through faith in Jesus Christ and acted upon, this truth gives amazing freedom and power in our lives as believers.
Unfortunately in societies around the world today, there are many “fathers” but few “good fathers.” This lack of knowing what a father signifies has led to many believers rejecting, or not fully receiving, the Father-heart of God. Do not let the devil steal away the joy of knowing your true Heavenly Father. Remember that even if you had a poor worldly father you can know and experience the amazing love and care of your Father in Heaven.
As you start to read, I want you to pray this prayer:
“Loving Heavenly Father, the Bible tells me of Your abundant love and care for me. Please forgive me for any wrong ideas I have about You as my Father. Renew my mind and correct my thinking, so that I might delight in Your love as much as You delight in loving me. Amen.”
Now, we are ready to begin looking at what the Bible says about the Father-heart of our Father in Heaven.
1. God as Our Father is Revealed in the Bible
The New Testament is full of passages declaring God to be Our loving Heavenly Father. Allow me to quote three important aspects of this:
- One of the best known pictures of God as Father is seen in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Here, the son runs away from his home and family, wasting his time and money in sinful rebellion. When he realises his foolishness, the son returns expecting shame and condemnation from his father. Instead, the father is shown to have been looking every day for his son to come back, and upon seeing him, the father runs to him, lavishing him with extravagant love and gifts. Never forget this picture of the Father’s love for you: God will never forget you, reject you, and always desires that you will come home to Him.
- Jesus taught us to pray to God as Father (Matt. 6:9ff). Prayer is time spent in the presence of the Father. It is not only talking to Him but listening to His voice; it is a two-way conversation. Our Father wants you to spend time in His presence; praising, worshiping and communing with Him. He never ignores you, and He loves to hear your voice.
- Jesus and Paul both declared that God is not just Father, but Abba. Abba is an Aramaic word which has no simple explanation in English, but is often said to mean “daddy” (Mk. 14:36, Rom. 8:15). One person put it like this:
It is easier to explain Abba using the Italian language by looking at the word “Papa”. This is a real word very young children use for their Fathers and is pretty easy for them to say and is a term of great love and endearment. However, the very same word “Papa” is used for the Pope, someone the Italians particularly hold in great esteem. The word Papa therefore holds huge honour and a magnificence and reverence in that context and one of great intimacy and familiarity in the other.
God wants us to know the intimacy of Him like a small child does with their dad, but also to understand that Our Dad is the Creator of the universe. He is mighty, powerful, awesome living God. Allow God to soften your heart so that you can call Him “Dad” and know that He looks upon you with favour and listens to your voice with delight.
2. Living Out the Father-heart of God
Knowing that God is Our Father is much more than just knowing some verses from the Bible; it is a truth that should change our lives. Below are five out-workings of the fact that God’s Father-heart is constantly towards us.
- It means we are constantly loved by Our Father
Resting securely in the love of God is a birthright of every believer. You can be confident that your Father loves you constantly with an unchanging love (Rom. 8:39). God declares that in His love, He wants to be involved in every area of your life. There is nothing you do that God does not care about.
- It means we will be provided for by Our Father
Becoming a part of the family of God means that your Father provides for you in many ways, for example:
- Your daily food – Jesus taught us to pray in faith - “Give us this day our daily bread” – knowing that Our Faithful Father will provide as we ask (Matt. 6:11).
- His Presence – God does not leave you to walk alone but gives you the Holy Spirit, the living presence of God within you. Lk. 11:13, “…how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”
- Gifts – In order to do the work the Father calls us to do, He equips us, giving us gifts so that we can do His work, in His power, for His glory (1 Cor. 12:1-11).
- It means you are forgiven by Our Father
You must live each day knowing that God is ready and willing to forgive your sins (1 Jn. 1:7-9). Yet, living in the forgiveness of God is at times tremendously challenging. We feel down because of the mistakes and sin in our lives. But failing to ask for and not receive God’s forgiveness can be crippling to your walk with God. When you sin, remember you have a Father who loves you unconditionally and is waiting for you to turn back to Him. He loves to forgive you.
- It means you will be disciplined by Our Father
In Hebrews 12:5-11, the Scripture talks about Our Heavenly Father loving us so much that He will discipline and correct us at times. Our earthly fathers corrected us so that we would live in the best way possible. Likewise, God disciplines us so that we might become more and more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). This takes place in various ways: As you read the Bible and realise you have been walking in some way that is displeasing to God; as a conviction or thought placed in your mind by the Holy Spirit, etc. In fact there are all sorts of ways our Father speaks with us to make sure we live the abundant life He has promised (Jn. 10:10). If you are ever in doubt here, then ask someone who is older and more experienced what they think. Based on the Bible, they will be able to guide and advise you.
- It means there is a hope and a future
There is no need to fear the future, or to fear death; for through our faith in Jesus, God our Father declares that there is an eternal home for us in Heaven. When this life ends, we shall be welcomed into Heaven! This gives our hearts great peace and security, for we know that we have believed and trusted our Father while living here on Earth. As we move on to Heaven, we can be sure that Jesus has prepared a place for us (Jn. 14:2) and He will welcome us.
Knowing the Father-heart of God is a source of great peace and great power in your walk as a believer. The devil will try to convince you of all sorts of rubbish; that God doesn’t care at times; that your sins are too great to be forgiven; that God doesn’t love you…
I could go on but what is important is that you know and take hold of the fact that God’s Father-heart reveals all those things to be lies. God loves you and is calling you to greater intimacy; to a deeper knowledge of Him and His ways; to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Father, come and invade my heart with Your loving Presence. Heal my hurts; cast out my anxious thoughts. Let Your peace reign over all my life. Fill me afresh with Your wonderful Spirit so that I might live each day knowing the Father whose heart is always towards me. Amen.
Discussion: Has there been any challenges in understanding and experiencing the Father-heart of God in your life? What has the Lord taught you about your relationship with Our Father in Heaven?