Father and sonThis past weekend we celebrated Father’s Day. I miss my dad and the goodness he stood for. As we grow older we appreciate the wise counsel our dads once provided. Scripture tells us that “God is the Father to the fatherless.” Psalms 68:5. It brings me comfort to know that we can know that God the Father is as close as a bended knee.

Even if our earthly fathers are alive, their grace, wisdom, talents, care, and love can’t compare to the consistent nurturing attributes of our Heavenly Father. God speaks to us in many ways; sometimes through His Spirit; sometimes through His Word; and sometimes through our earthly fathers.

The word “Father” is mentioned 245 times in the New Testament. Jesus referred to “His Father” 14 times just in the Sermon on the Mount”. It is clear that the Lord’s purpose was to reveal that God is not merely a transcendent force somewhere in the universe, but rather a loving, personal, heavenly Father who is profoundly interested in the details of His Creation, especially you and me.

When the Lord Jesus gave His disciples a pattern for prayer, He addressed His words to “Our Father who is in heaven”. Most people do not think of God as being close as their biological dad especially if that father is living in disobedience. The apostle Paul gives us assurance that when believers accept the inheritance given to them by God we are part of the “household or family of God.” Those of us who claim Christ as our Savior have every right to see ourselves as God’s children or joint heirs with His Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17)

In researching one of my books on knowing God’s character (The Ultimate Hunt), I soon discovered that knowing God as Father involves more than acquaintance with Him as a person or a spirit; it goes far beyond simple familiarity with His matchless grace, love, and kindness, and even surpasses knowing Him in His holiness, righteousness, and justice. How great it is to know that we can know Him as our Heavenly Father and receive an intimate kinship by experiencing the living God of the universe.

Charles Stanley reminds us, “The Bible uses the name ‘Father’ to indicate a close, personal relationship, which certainly is not true of all humanity… It is interesting that immediately after reference to our relationship with the heavenly Father (In the Lord’s Prayer), God’s holiness is mentioned, the very attribute that separates sinful man from Him.” Hallowed be Your name is identifying God’s holiness that only a true believer can identify with and understand.

Jesus reminds us that “no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). An attempt to approach the Father, except through Jesus, is like calling our Christ a liar. “Father” implies a relationship and membership in a family. Christ is the door into that family. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out… (John 10:9) and “For you are all my sons (and daughters) of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

Scripture tells us that an unbeliever can’t claim to be a “relative” while rejecting the one entrance into God’s household. “My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore, you also do the things which heard from your Father”. John 8:37-38

From Stanley’s insights on this topic, we find six observations on “How God Expresses Fatherhood”. These are traits we can carryover in our role obedient fathers.

God desires intimacy in the relationship. We can not be successful in our fatherhood or spiritual growth without intimacy. Intimacy is ironed out over the anvil of TIME. We need to take time with our dads and being a dad.

Our Heavenly Father longs to communicate with us. God longs to hear our voice in prayer and adoration. So it is with earthy fathers, they need to hear from their children. (Matt. 7:7-11) Good open communications is vital to a healthy relationship.

God loves each of us unconditionally. We don’t have to worry about our failures with our Heavenly Father. He is full of grace. Some of us never felt that kind of love from our earthly dads so it’s hard for us to model unconditional love and grace to others, but we must try and try again.

God disciplines His children. God trains us not out of anger, but with loving correction for our own good. When we discipline or correct our children it should be out of love and concern for their spiritual growth and personal welfare.

God always guides us to do what is right. Jesus said that our Counselor- the Holy Spirit- would guide us into all truth. (John 14:26; 16:13) An earthly father, who is walking with God, has experiences, passions, reflections, and insights that are unique to understanding his children and for them to understand the world. All that is needed is for the child to ask for that wisdom.

Personal Application:

Have you felt the love of Christ in your relationship with your dad or a mentor? If not, can you accept the love our Heavenly Father has for you?

What are some of the character traits God has that you could better model to your children or grandchildren?

Jim Grassi, D. Min.