I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30 ESV)
One of the dearest titles and relationships the holy God of the Universe chooses to have with us is that of Father.
I can hardly believe the intimacy my Lord desires. This is not a relationship of groveling, trying to prove myself, hoping to figure out a mystery, or attempting to earn a position. Instead, this is a relationship of being. Have you answered the Lord’s call to you? He says,
- and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:18 ESV)
In the Old Testament, as His people repeatedly rejected this opportunity, the Lord grieved. When the Israelites finally received judgement, God told them "'I said, How I would set you among my sons, and give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beautiful of all nations. And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me.’” (Jeremiah 3:19 ESV) Can't you just hear the sorrow in the Father’s voice as He laments the missed opportunity of relationship?
Because I have given my life to Christ, I have automatically entered into this special familial bond. I am adopted. Adoption is ALWAYS the choice of the adopter, not the adopted. So God CHOOSES to be my Father. We see that clearly in Romans 8. This Scripture is a little long, but don’t skip over it. Read it and revel in the privilege we are given!
- For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-17 ESV)
When the Lord adopts us, He invites us to kinship, though how I respond is up to me. Will I stand far off or will I call Him Abba? Calling the Holy Lord “Abba” is like saying “Daddy.” Children who speak Hebrew call their dads, Abba. It is no small thing that we are offered the chance to be adopted completely into full position as child. Look how proactively the Lord calls us to Himself:
- … we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are … a son, … an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:5-7 ESV)
We are sealed as His child by receiving the Holy Spirit. Another blessing Romans 8:17 reveals is that because we are sons and daughters, we have an inheritance! In fact, we are fellow-heirs with Christ. The Creator God, who possesses every atom of the universe has made us heirs! So why do I worry and fret over possessions? My Abba owns everything.
We are also given gifts, as James 1:17 informs us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Our Abba is not a vending machine, doling out whatever we want. But He does love us and every gift we have is because of Him and should be used to His glory.
One of the signs of being a child of the Lord is that He disciplines us. Discipline is a very personal, immediate response in our life. It signifies not a harsh judge looming over our life, but rather a loving parent walking beside us, keeping us from our worst tendencies, and steering us away from the dark corners of our hearts.
He doesn’t let us wallow in our sin, hurting ourselves or others. And like all children, we must choose to either learn from that discipline or not. Am I hard headed, and disregard God’s correction? Yep- sometimes. May this year be one where I listen quicker and obey sooner.
- And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.(Hebrews 12:5-8 ESV)
He loves us too much to leave us to our worst tendencies. He doesn’t require us to get ourselves together. He leads, teaches, and disciplines because He is our Abba, our Daddy.
No matter what our earthly relationships are, we all have access to a loving Father. I am blessed with a loving earthly Dad who loves me unconditionally. But many people have struggles and even deep pain in their relationship with their dad. I encourage you- don’t let a difficult earthly parent color your acceptance of God as Father. You can find in Him all that you wish your physical father had been. The Lord will never abandon us and is eternally our Father- a loving parent who loves us regardless.
- Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home… (Psalm 68:4-6 ESV)
As we go now to pray, let’s pray in this confidence: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. (Ephesians 3:14-15 ESV)
Oh Abba, I love You so.
Thank You Lord that because You desire such a relationship with me, You seek me out and adopt me. You would be right to condemn me, but You accept me. Though You could stand far off, You intentionally draw me near. Though You could turn Your face, You gather me in Your arms.
I hardly know how to express my gratitude that You grant me an inheritance of Your Kingdom. I know I don’t deserve it, and Your generosity overwhelms me. Please show me how to invest these riches into others’ lives this year. I want to be a faithful child who uses Your abundance well.
Thank you Lord for the gifts You give. EVERY good thing in my life is because of You. Please forgive my ingratitude as I take so many blessings for granted. Show me how to use these gifts to build Your Kingdom.
Father, I also want to thank You for the discipline You lovingly give me. I wish I always did the right thing, but I am grateful You do not leave me in my sin, and instead correct me and guide me. Forgive me for the many times I have refused that correction in the past. I ask You to help me this year to listen quickly to Your instruction and to go in the way You point.
Oh Abba, please help me walk in the fullness of being Your child. Guide me toward the intimacy You offer. I want to enter completely into fellowship with You. I want to not only rest in this permanent relationship, but also walk in the privileges and responsibilities of it.
I love You Abba and I thank You for Your great love for me.
I pray that you find deeper understanding of the loving relationship available. If you feel far removed from the Father, please realize that is the last thing He desires. His call has always been:
- “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:18 ESV).
He is ready and willing. Let's walk in that love and confidence every day.
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3 ESV)
Here is some more scripture to study. Get to know your Heavenly Abba. It is the most precious relationship available:
- (Isaiah 63:16, 64:8) (Matthew 5:16, 44-45)(Matthew 6:6, 32) (Malachi 2:10) (Matthew 7:11 ESV) (Matthew 11:25-26)(1 Corinthians 8:6)
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