God the Father?
June 18, 2019
If you have known me very long you’ve heard me say many times, “Your view of God is the most important thing about you.” So what should it be?
When Jesus’ closet friends saw His connection with God through prayer, they asked Him, “How should we pray?” He said, “Our Father . . .” address Him as “our Father.”
In the thousands of years covered in the Old Testament, God is called “Father” only seven times. People just didn’t think of God as Father. They thought of Him as other kinds of things: powerful, great, and distant. He was Creator, Almighty One. But they didn’t think of God as Father. Then Jesus came along and said this is how you’re to pray. Call Him Father. Jesus uses the expression more than 150 times to refer to God.
Jesus blew up the stereotypes. God is not an angry tyrant. God is not the ego-driven enforcer. He is not the universal killjoy. He is not the Force. God is an up close and personal God. He wants to have a relationship with you, and He created you with that ability.
But for some of us there’s a problem. For many people, the word “father” has a negative connotation. The word “father” brings up all kinds of bad memories. A lot of people say, “Our Father? No way . . . If God is like my Father, count me out.”
The truth is, some human fathers can make home a hell on earth. Human fathers can be fickle, moody, abusive, controlling, and violent. Some fathers don’t keep promises, they are neglectful, absent, irresponsible, and undependable. The reason many people never connect with God is because they unconsciously think God is like their earthly father. If he was unreasonable, they think God is unreasonable. Maybe their father was irresponsible, so they think God is irresponsible. We see God the Father through our human father filter, and all those hurts and evils are imposed upon Him. No wonder we can’t connect with Him.
In today’s world, multitudes of kids have very little connection to their father. They don’t know him, see him, command his attention, or receive his love. He just doesn’t factor into their lives at all. So why would they be expected to have a connection with their heavenly Father? No wonder so many of us don’t understand God!
Perhaps your view of God has been shaped by a less than desirable relationship with your earthly father. You need to let go of the misconceptions that have kept you from understanding and enjoying a relationship with God. As your filter changes, you will be able to understand the truth of what God the Father is really like. The truth will set you free! Your false information keeps you disconnected from God. But when you really know Him, you’re going to love Him.
Your Father God can handle anything. Have you noticed that the media portrayal of fathers most often shows them as bumbling and incompetent? They aren’t necessarily evil, but loveable, bumbling goofs.
I try to be a good father. It’s a huge priority for me. But my four kids found out quite early that even though I tried hard; I tried to be present, involved, and helpful, I have flaws and limitations. It's amazing to me that when my kids were little, they expected me to know all, to fix anything, and to afford everything. But as they grew up, they learned that their father had limited knowledge, limited energy, limited resources, limited skills . . . limited everything.
Patty and I introduced our children very early to God the Father who can do anything and everything. It is the most significant thing I have ever done. We shared with them that He is our Father too, and they would never outgrow the need for Him. We showed them our dependence on our mighty and loving Father, and as they became able to choose to listen and follow, each of them has chosen Him as number one in their lives.
God can do anything, and the best thing about Him is that the more you spend time with Him, the more you discover that nothing is impossible with God. Yesterday's impossibilities are today's miracles. God specializes in the impossible! No matter how old you are, your Father is the biggest and the best. He loves you and wants to draw near to you and meet your needs.
Remember, no one has greater potential to influence a child’s life and relationship with God than a parent. So the best gift you can give your family, children, spouse, and friends is to be sure that you are sitting in the first chair. If you missed the message on Father’s Day, check it out here.
If you want to take what you heard to the next level, read and reflect on this:
HEART-CLEANSING FOR PERSONAL RENEWAL
By Rick Warren
The following is a list of common sins that prevent God from blessing and using our lives. As you prayerfully read this, examine yourself and circle or underline the areas that apply to you.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 TLB
How can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Psalm 19:12 TLB
Matthew 6:12-14: Your Relationships – Have you been holding a grudge against anyone? Have you been secretly unforgiving? Desiring revenge? Secretly jealous of someone? Harboring bitterness? Unwilling to forget a misunderstanding? Hateful? Do you avoid people you dislike but need your love? Are you critical or judging of others? Do you justify your bad attitude by claiming it is their fault? Do you gossip to feel superior or better about yourself? Have you worn a self-protective mask and failed to let people get close to you?
Matthew 6:33: Your Priorities – In what areas of your life have you failed to put God first? Do any of the following interfere with doing God’s will? Your personal ambitions and goals, your fun and hobbies, your job, your desire to get rich, your own plans, your habits, your friendships, your family? Do you find you don’t have time for God? For prayer? For Bible reading? For small group? Have other activities made you irregular at worship? Is there anything you would be unwilling to give up if God asked you?
Ephesians 4:31: Your Attitudes – Do you complain and whine about your circumstances? Are you ungrateful? Irritable or cranky? Negative? Do you get angry easily and blow up or pout? Are you ever harsh or unkind? Unteachable? Sarcastic? Do you put down others instead of building them up? Do you worry about things God wants you to trust Him with? Are you fearful or anxious? Do you try to control people or circumstances? Impatient? Prideful or stubborn?
Colossians 3:9: Your Integrity – Are you honest in all your dealings? Do you find it easy to lie? Do you exaggerate to make yourself look better? Leave a better impression of yourself than is true? Have you cheated on taxes? Have you stolen things? Failed to return things? Do you do good things hoping to impress others? Do you pretend to live one way in front of your Christian friends and another way at home or at work? Do you keep your promises? Are you dependable?
Romans 12:1-2: Your Mind – Have you failed to guard your mind from unhealthy, ungodly input? Have you filled your mind with sleazy or profane movies, television programs, magazines, or books? Do you participate in entertainment that causes you to have impure thoughts? Pornography? Do you spend more time with the TV or the Internet than with God’s Word? Are you lazy in memorizing Scripture verses?
Acts 20:35: Your Money and Possessions – Have you failed to dedicate all your possessions to the Lord? Have you acted like your possessions belong to you, not God? Have you robbed God by not giving him the 10% tithe that He commands? Do you find yourself resentful or defensive when asked to give to God’s work? Are you eager to get rich? Are you stingy with wealth? Have you failed to trust God with your finances? Do you need to be more generous with what God has given you?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Your Body – Are you in any way careless with your body or health? Is there any activity or habit that is harmful to you? Are you lazy or undisciplined?
2 Corinthians 5:7: Walking by Faith – Do you tend to follow your moods or feelings rather than doing what you know is right? Do you allow your emotions to be inspired for the Lord at church but then do nothing about it? Do you focus more on your circumstances instead of the promises of God? Have you failed to trust God with the disappointments of your life?
Hebrews 10:25: Your Church, Family, and Ministry – Are you accountable to any small group of believers for growth? Are you using your God-given shape in some ministry? Do you pray for your church and your pastors? Have you been critical instead of helpful? Have you expected to be “fed” without giving back?
Joshua 24:15: Your Family – Are you unkind to those you live with? Do you pray for them? Do you need to ask forgiveness from a family member? Have you been unfaithful to your spouse mentally, emotionally, or physically?
Acts 20:24: Your Mission in the World – Have you failed to share the good news of Christ . . . with your relatives? With friends? With co-workers? With neighbors? Kept silent in fear?
Ask God to remind you of anything that has hindered His blessing on your life.
If we confess our sins to God, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. 1 John 1:9