Father’s Day is here, and one thing is certain: We each have (or have had) a father. He may be a good one or a bad one. He may have been present or absent, understanding or harsh, generous or stingy – but he’s our father, and we only get one … on earth. Christians, however, get another Father, a perfect, heavenly one! We get to share The Father with His Son – and that’s an amazing blessing. We have been “accepted in the beloved” and “adopted as God’s very own children.” (Ephesians 1:5-6)
Even if our earthly fathers are no longer with us, those who are born again are not fatherless. We are sons and daughters of the Most High!
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6 NKJV)
In fact, our very salvation is framed in terms of knowing The Father!
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3 NKJV)
So, on this Father’s Day 2023, let’s honor our earthly father – and especially – our heavenly Father. Regardless of what our earthly fathers were like, Jehovah Jireh is the best provider. Human parents have limited resources and are fallible, but El Shaddai is our All-sufficient One. More than merely the One who cares for us and cares about us, Abba (Daddy) has a wonderful plan for our life. He wants to give us “a future and a hope!” (Jeremiah 29:11) All we have to do is find HIM to find His plan – and we will, when we search for Him with our whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Long ago, God prepared good works for us, even before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4, 2:10) These are part of the vision He has for our lives, but we need training – and that’s where He shines! The Father is the One who molds us into who we must become. He is our heavenly trainer, our holy disciplinarian. Check out this passage in Hebrews… (CAPS are quotes from the Old Testament; underlining is mine – for emphasis.)
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM; FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11 NKJV)
While it is true that God loves us “as a father pities his children,” He is not soft on us, either. “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” – but does not “spare the rod.” (Psalm 103:13-14; Proverbs 13:24, 23:13, 29:15) He, above all earthly fathers, knows how to shape us into who He wants us to become!
As earthly parents our job is to raise adults, not children. So basically, our goal is to work ourselves out of a job! A wise father wants to shape his child into a responsible, independent adult. (Christians, of course, also want their children to grow into adults who personally have a relationship with God and know how to depend upon Him.) Our heavenly Father’s job, however, is a little different. His training is designed to make us holy! When He disciplines us, we actually change and become more like Him…
After several recommendations for “running the race,” the author of this book points out what’s missing in the Hebrews’ spiritual journey: They have forgotten that they are SONS. God is our Heavenly Father; He loves us and is personally invested in our lives. So, we need to see the difficulties we face as intended to train us in righteousness – not knock us off the path. When we experience hard times, God’s goal is to build our faith – not frustrate us. Through it all, our good, good Father is at work inside of us to make us more like Him. (Philippians 2:12-13) That is why remembering our SONSHIP puts all of life into focus.
Even so, there is more… It’s what we DO with the knowledge of God’s Fatherhood that makes all the difference, and here is the key: Submission. (Hebrews 12:9) When we readily submit to the Father, we will live! When we’ve been trained by Him, we’ll receive the peaceable fruit of righteousness. God’s discipline is good, and we should be thankful for it. It’s a sure sign that we really do belong to Him!
This Father’s Day, let’s enjoy God’s rich provision and loving-kindness. And also, let us allow Him to prune us and shape us, to mold us into His image. Take some time to thank Him for His care – and correction. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to walk on the narrow road.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13 NKJV)