“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…”Romans 8:14-17
What a marvel that He has adopted us, made us His children! At this time of year, with Father’s Day fast approaching, I have been thinking of the parallels between an earthly father and our heavenly Father:
A Father provides for His children.
Food, clothes, shelter, and many other necessities and luxuries a dad desires to give to his child. He would grieve if he could not take care of his child, and he delights to give the child anything that she desires, if it is good for her. Matthew 7:9-11 says, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” Our heavenly Father delights to care for us as His children. He has promised to provide for all of our needs. We need never worry that we will be lacking anything for our good. An earthly father has limited resources; our heavenly Father has unsearchable riches!
A Father protects His children.
What safety children find in their dad! In moments of fear or danger, a child will run to Dad, confident in his ability to protect her and keep her from harm. An earthly father does not always have the strength or may not be able to be there for his child in the moment of trouble, but if he is, he will do all he can to shelter his child. John 10:29 says, “My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” Our wonderful Father is greater than all! He cannot lose a battle, and He is protecting us as His children. We have no reason to fear so long as we are held in our Father’s hand – forever!
A Father has patience with His children.
Children are sinful, frustrating little people. Yet, a good dad, while training and teaching his children to do right, is longsuffering and loving, despite the difficulties that the children give. When a child is little, she is still is learning how to do so many things. A father does not demand the two year old to mow the lawn or have perfect table manners. He patiently works with her at the place of growth where she is. Psalm 103:13-14 says, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” Sinful, frustrating little people grow up into sinful, frustrating big people. I was talking to the mother of a toddler recently, and it is amazing to see that the struggles of the will and temper with which a little child defies the parents are very similar to the struggles that I face against my patient Father. Yet, He is so merciful and longsuffering! He teaches and trains us, but He works with us where we are and suffers long with our bad attitudes and rebellion. How good He is to us!
A Father polishes His children.
Earthly fathers rebuke, correct, and chasten their children. It is right, and it is good that they should do so! A child left to herself will cause sorrow and shame and reproach to her parents. A good father will discipline his child to the end that the child will learn to do right and walk in the ways of God. Hebrews 12:9-10 says, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Our good Father chastises us to the end that we may become more like Him. Though earthly fathers may at times punish unjustly or in anger, or may neglect proper discipline altogether, our Father will always chasten us in righteousness, love, and in good measure. It is a cause of thanksgiving when we have had an earthly father who took the time to train us, though we did not then enjoy the chastening. How much more will we be eternally grateful that our Father chastened us for our good?
A Father is pleased with His children.
A dad delights in spending time with his children. He is not ashamed of them, but rather looks forward to the chance to introduce them as his own. He loves them, not because they have helped increase the income in the home (children do the opposite!), or because they help out (children come completely helpless!), or because they have done something to earn his love. He loves them because they are his own. They belong to him permanently. 1 John 3:1 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” We are the children of our heavenly Father, not because we were born so, but because He chose us! He has adopted us into His family. He is not ashamed of us as His children; He delights in spending time with us and fellowshipping with us. We had absolutely nothing to offer Him, less than nothing, but He loved us unconditionally and made us His children permanently. He will never disown us or cast us away. We are His children forever because He loved us!
So, what should our response be to this marvelous God, Whom we have the privilege to call our Father?
A child should look to her Father for approval.
If a child has the smile of her dad, what does it matter what others may think of her? Though other children may taunt or tease, a child can be satisfied, knowing that she is doing what her dad wants her to do. It is so easy to become concerned with pleasing other people, earning a reputation, or impressing those around us. However, we are told not to be concerned with pleasing men, but rather to be concerned with pleasing God (1 Thessalonians 2:4, Galatians 1:10, Proverbs 29:25). If we have the smile of our heavenly Father, we are approved!
A child should listen to her Father’s wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 4:1 says, “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” An earthly father has much more wisdom than his child does. Yet, many children think that they know better. This often leads to unnecessary difficulties because they refuse to hear. A dad’s wisdom is still limited, of course; the Father has all wisdom and understanding: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” We ought to be quick to hear and heed what He says to us. He always knows better than us.
A child should lean on her Father for help and provision.
Most children give little thought to how they will be fed or clothed or protected. They just naturally depend upon their father to take care of them. How silly it would seem if a child, who had always had more than enough given to her, would lie awake at night, worrying how she would be able to get the food and clothes she would need next year. Matthew 6:31-32 says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” If it seems foolish that a child should not depend upon her earthly father, how much more foolish must it seem to our great Father that we worry continually and do not trust His provision? He is more than able to care for our needs, and He will faithfully do it. We ought to trust Him!
A child should love her Father.
If a child has a dad that provides for her, protects her, trains her, and loves her, what base ingratitude it would be if that child refused to show any love towards her dad or spend time with him! Yet, how often do we, who have such a loving, tender, caring Father, neglect to show love to Him by refusing to obey Him, spend time with Him, worship Him, and thank Him? 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” The natural response of a loved child is to love back. He is more than worthy of our undying love and devotion!
Our heavenly Father is a good, loving Father! James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” He is faithful, and He is kind! As you celebrate Father’s Day this year, remembering your earthly father, take a few moments and think of Him Who is your Abba, Father, and give thanks to Him for all He has done for you!