A Father’s Day Tribute to my Father-Figure

I have a Father’s Day question.

Where does your Father-figure come from?

Early on my Christian journey, I realized that my Father-figure does not come from my earthly dad. It comes from my heavenly Father, which is life-changing!

For every Christian, it’s our caring Father’s good pleasure to gladly adopt us into His forever Family (Ephesians 1:5). He embraces us so we enjoy His presence. He brings us by the hand into His Family to experience the wonder of belonging, perhaps for the first time. We are now His sons (Romans 8:15)…forever.

My advice to you when you come to Christ is to fire your dad…

…from his previous “job” as your Father-figure. Then replace your old Father-figure with the one and only true Father-figure, God the Father. He is the only perfect Father (Matthew 5:48).

Now you can forgive your dad’s imperfections and embrace him as dad…only! Perhaps this requires forgiveness and reconciliation for some to reconnect with our dad, but the results will be worth it.

Perhaps this is tough for you to hear. If so, perhaps your first step may be to learn a bit more about your heavenly Father through double-negatives. “My Father in heaven will never:

  • …neglect or reject me;
  • …abandon or ignore me;
  • …be absent, push me aside or withhold from me;
  • …control or abuse me.

Our true Father is good at the core of His being towards you and me. Always. At Jesus’ baptism, before He did anything publicly, the Father tears open heaven and declares:

A voice from heaven said, “this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

“Loved!” “Well pleased!” Embrace this identity personally since it is Reality…and true of each of us as His beloved child.

“I love you, My Son. My daughter, and I’m well pleased with you!” And this is also how our good Father sees each of us as His beloved child (Ephesians 1:5). Our Father can only do good, despite the questions our feelings raise at times (James 1:16-18).

We can rely on Him when everyone else walks out on us. If we don’t trust that our caring heavenly Father has our very best on His heart, however, we will shy away from His presence. “Jesus, I hear you singing love-songs over me (Zephaniah 3:17). You call my name, ‘Jim, by beloved child,’ the sweetest voice in the universe.” If you have any other picture in your mind of God, perhaps begin with Zephaniah 3:17, this invaluable five-faceted gem describing how He sees us.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

An inner spiritual homesickness draws new believers to finally return home, to our true home, infused by our Father’s love. You were born to be loved by your heavenly Father! Doesn’t it make sense that our heavenly Father would implant within us a desire for what He already yearns to give us?

Our Father’s initiating first-love now defines our new Father-figure, the perfect and unfailing one, profusely pouring out love into our hearts through the indwelling Spirit (Romans 5:5). Christianity begins and ends with relationship, first upward to God and also outward to people. We yearn for connectedness since we are born into an environment of disconnection since Genesis 3.

Because our Father has fully forgiven us through faith in Christ,…

no barrier any longer blocks access into His presence for His “beloved children” fully welcomed into the Family of God. None! We are now welcomed by Jesus to return home to our loving, heavenly Father, our true, original dwelling place. With His loving eyes, God fastens His gaze on you, lovingly on each of us individually. He honestly whispers: You are my favorite.” We are prized as the apple of His eye, lovable as His beloved child, lovely in His sight. God imbeds His love deeply into our hearts. We now belong!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (Jesus to His disciples in John 15:9).

“You are noticed, adored by Your Father.” “You matter to Your Father.” “You are prized as His new family.” The old is gone; the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17), even though we are still very much in-process. Have you gotten in touch with the “incomparable riches of His grace expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7)? These practical expressions of kindness take our breath away. How very much the Father loves us (1 John 3:1)!

Now is the time to firmly plant in our hearts…

…how our Father truly sees us and who and whose we actually are through faith in Christ. As our Father’s beloved and blessed child, we know the Father’s heart in a growing way because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He took the initiative to love us, expressed concretely in this cycle through His care and compassion in meeting our felt needs. And the depth of this love blows our mental circuits, growing over a lifetime (1 John 3:1-3). Embrace the awe and wonder of the mysteries of a Father whose kindness and compassion know no bounds. These soar far beyond anything we can imagine. He is “for” us…always.

How great is the 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).

Yes, you hold a special place in the heart of our infinite Father, a place no one and nothing else can rival. The deep care and compassion our heavenly Father has for each of His beloved children keeps us safe and secure in His arms. If you have painted any other portrait of a father-figure in your mind or affections, paint over it with our heavenly Father as our true Father-figure.

“The living God is a relationship, a community, a Trinity. And this God draws near to us to draw us near to himself within the circle of his knowing and loving of himself” (Darrell W. Johnson, Experiencing the Trinity).

This post comes from chapter one in Cycles for Lifelong LifeChange,” in chapter one (available as free PDF download).

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