The Father’s Heart
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
God has the heart of a father.
The verses above are just three of the many passages that specifically reference God’s father heart. From the beginning of time, God’s father heart is displayed. Like a good dad, he gave Eve in marriage to Adam. Like a loving father, he adopted a people (Israel) as his own and changed the name of Abram to Abraham as a sign of his new relationship/covenant with him. Time and again, we see God’s heart on display. We rebel, he forgives. We forget, he remembers.
Eventually God has enough of this horribly broken, impossibly dysfunctional relationship, so he sends his son. Jesus – God in the flesh – lives, dies, and rises again so that we can all be adopted into God’s family. Through faith in Jesus we can be heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – his children.
God is our Father.
But this can be a problem.
Since we all have a father, we can’t help but transpose our relationship with our dads onto God. It’s almost impossible not to.
Was your dad distant? That’s probably how God feels.
Did you only get love from your dad when you did the right things? That must be how God is.
Did you only see your dad on the weekends or holidays? God’s really only present at church on Sunday.
Did you even know your Dad? God can’t really be known.
This is the problem we all face. If God is like a father, we naturally assume he’s like our own dad – for better or worse. Satan knows this, too. So he tells us things like, “God doesn’t really love you” or “You’re not doing enough for God to love you.” And we believe it, because it feels true.
But it’s not true. Not even close.
The father’s love that God displays can only be found in what the Bible says about his character and what Jesus did (and still does today). His is a perfect love, present in an imperfect world.
The truth is that “God demonstrates his own love for us – this way – while were still sinners Jesus died for us. “ (Romans 5:8) And God “…gives generously without finding fault.” (James 1:5) It’s never God who withdraws from us when we sin. We’re the ones that run from him. He’s not Santa Claus checking his list to see if you’ve been naughty or nice. He went looking for Adam and Eve in the garden and he was the loving father welcoming the prodigal home. And someday he’ll be the one that welcomes us into his amazing presence.
In order to fully walk out in the plans, purposes, and mission that God has for us, we have to know his heart. God has a perfect father’s heart that loves us unconditionally. It changes our identity and causes us to live like are a part of his family. This kind of love causes us to run toward God, not away.
How has your picture of the father heart of God informed your faith and impacted your relationship with him? What passage of scripture has illustrated this for you?