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If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!Matthew 7:11 ESV
Yesterday, families worldwide celebrated Father’s Day by honoring and appreciating the fathers in their lives. As we reflect on the significance of this day, I thought it would be a great time to look at some of the attributes of our Heavenly Father and their impact on our identity and purpose.
Our view of God as our Heavenly Father is typically shaped by our view of our earthly fathers. If your earthly father has not been around or has not lived up to his duties as a father, then it will be more difficult (but thankfully not impossible) to relate to God as your Father. If your earthly father was an excellent example of a father, then you’ll be able to relate to God as a Father more easily.
But even a good earthly father is not perfect. For example, many good earthly fathers use an authoritative model of parenting, which may have some value when dealing with adolescent children but can become controlling when applied to an adult child.
God is infinitely times better than your earthly father, good or bad. Knowing Him as a father is especially important to fulfilling your purpose because it is from Him we get our identity and our purpose is directly related to who we are. So how can we know what a truly good father looks like and who God is to us as a Father? Let’s take a look at some of His fatherly attributes.
His Unconditional Love
God’s love for you is not based on your performance or your worth. It is steadfast, never wavering, and never changing. He gives it freely and unconditionally without limitation. Understanding His unconditional love removes the fear of messing up, missing out, and displeasing Him. Because His perfect love casts out all our fear, we can step out into what He’s calling us to do without fear that we might get it wrong.
God empathizes with our struggles, pain, and weaknesses. He is compassionate, understanding, and tender-hearted towards His children.
God knows all our struggles, pain, and weaknesses and He is always compassionate, understanding, and tender-hearted toward us, His children. He knows you better than you know yourself. While you might hesitate to take your struggles to Him but He already knows about them and is just waiting for you to hand them over to Him so He can help you heal. Your Heavenly Father is always ready with His righteous right hand, to help you get up and go again [Isaiah 41:10].
Father God cares about all your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and has already provided for them. He is your Shepherd and ensures that you lack nothing essential to your well-being (Psalm 23:1). He provides for the birds of the air so how much more will He provide for you (Matt 6:26)? And, He has already provided everything you need including tangible gifts, skills and talents and the financial provision to help you successfully fulfill your purpose.
As a caring Father, God provides guidance and direction for our lives by giving us wisdom, discernment, and clarity as we navigate challenges and decisions. He is a lamp unto your path and a light unto your feet (Ps 119:105). Cloud by day and fire by night (Exo 13:21), He leads you on the journey into your promised land just like He lead the Israelites so many years ago. Even when you get off track, you can trust Him to course correct because that’s what a guide does. He will tell you which way to go, all you have to do is walk in it (Isa 30:21)
His Loving Discipline
Discipline is an important part of a father’s role. Sometimes we struggle to perceive God as Father because we think of Him as an authoritative parent who expects us to follow the rules with no discussion or compromise and who is eager to punish us when we mess up. This is not who He is. When God disciplines you it’s for your growth and maturity (Prov 10:17). His discipline is always grounded in His unconditional love and His aim is always to shape you into the best version of yourself. There may be times when He pulls back to allow us to suffer the consequences of our actions when we ignore His warnings and get into trouble. But His corrections are always done out of love to guide us and teach us how to make the right decisions.
If you still struggle to relate to God as a Father, ask Jesus to show you the way. He came to show us the way to the Father, back to the kind of relationship Adam and Eve had with Him in the Garden. Let Jesus lead you into the Father’s love.
Here are some more articles about God as a Father.
Deborah Ruck @ As Bold As THE Lion blog