Since it’s not too far removed from Father’s Day, I thought I’d share some thoughts John wrote in his journal several years ago, about God as his, and our, Father.
“Father”: Latin, pater: nourisher, protector, upholder
In the Beginning
I believe that men and women of every age, race, and culture are searching for their spiritual father–their God Father. The emptiness or void that is felt in our lives is meant to be occupied by the Spirit of our Heavenly Father. Our spiritual being is the part of us where this relationship begins and grows; ultimately, bringing us to fulfillment and contentment in the presence of our Father God.
Each of us finds ourselves in a unique set of circumstances. Our parents or lack of parents, our home life and social life are all means of communicating to us a need for a true connection, found in our Heavenly Father. Our concept of God is distorted by negative images and illustrations of from imperfect incomplete messages about Him that we receive in our life. These impressions, relationships and experiences all work together to establish a concept within ourselves of an imagined version of God.
Tracing back to the beginning, Genesis, establishes God’s orignial purpose and intention for creating mankind. God’s purpose for the human race was to have many sons and daughter. In a spiritual sense, we were destined to be the offspring of God. In the beginning, He created man in His own image, or likeness…a creation never meant to die–physically or spiritually. However, sin and disobedience entered the picture and separated us from our God Father.
God Intervenes: Jesus and the Cross
Our sin must first be dealt so God’s purpose for us in eternal life can be accomplished. Mankind died spiritually to God in the Garden. “As for you [all of us] you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the Kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Ephesians 2:1,2)
“To all who received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God–children not born of natural descent..but born of God.” (I Peter 1:23)
“For God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Spiritual life was meant to be, from the beginning, enjoyed with our God and Father–but was lost to the Father of lies. We can receive this life back through Jesus Christ and regain fellowship with the Father through Him. Jesus stated it like this,
“I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to [a relationship with] the Father unless he comes through Me.” (John 14:6)
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has commited to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:18-21)
Why do many who know God continue to struggle with ideas about His nature and character?
Everyone of us has a history; our childhood, our parents (or lack of parents), significant people, experiences, victories and defeats. We carry with us these collective life experiences in our “life luggage”, and this baggage formulates concepts of love, pain, good, bad and God. This projects upon our mind ideas about the nature of God and His character, as we imagine or conceive Him. People who have been reconciled to their God and Father, may still struggle with love, joy, peace, and inner spiritual rest due to this baggage.
Just as there are disappointments, broken dreams, hurts, and delusions in a world without God, there are still many (of us) in the God’s family who are at various stages in the journey, struggling to be free from baggage of the past. Sometimes it’s these issues that cause us to give up or lose heart in the process.
For example, I interpret my life and circumstances based upon my understanding of God’s nature. I see God through the lens of my human father and my experiences with him. If I was abused, mistreated, rejected or disappointed in my earthly relationship with my human father-or absence of a father-then I may project that experience on God, my Heavenly father. I develope a concept within myself of an imagined version of God. To counter this, I need to focus on God as He’s presented in His Word and through the life and eyes of Jesus. This helps renew my image and understand about God’s true nature–which is love.
We need a renewing of our minds and spiritual help so we can unload our old baggage and replace it with new life experiences, beliefs and trust in Jesus. He is the One who God provided to show us His true nature and character. So we are reconciled to our GodFather through His forgiveness and grace poured out on the Cross, and we can grow in our relationship with Him through His Word, prayer (talking to Him) , and caring Christ-centered individuals who demonstrate His same love.
“When the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs, having the Hope of Eternal Life.” (Titus 3:4-7)