Our Father, the God of all creation, has a deep desire to have loving family relationships with his children. As all good fathers, God has a plan to help his children draw close to him and emulate his ways so they can grow to spiritual maturity. Let’s examine the many ways in which we become attached to God so we might become like our Father?
Draw Near to God
Reflecting on our amazing heritage as children of God can inspire and motivate us to draw close to God as our Father. We are reminded by Jesus that in order to have this close relationship, this deep personal attachment to our Father, we must become as little children. Parents understand the importance of listening to their children and responding to their needs, similarly God hears us and provides the care we need. God wants us to have the heart of a child who cries out for help and trusts in him to respond.
Love and Belonging
As children of God we are part of a family with God as our Father and many brothers and sisters. To maintain strong family ties and build close relationships, Jesus provided us the key.
He instructed his disciples, his followers, to love others in the same way that he had loved them.
This is a tall order! And yet it is vital to maintaining the bonds that bind families and church brethren together. So how do we love one another? And what is love, agape, as defined by the God whose defining characteristic is love?
Imitate the Father
How do children learn? In early life patterns of thought and behaviour are learned through imitation. Children learn to sound and act like those who care for them. Spiritually speaking we are to follow this same pattern of development by imitating Christ — doing what he did. His life was an example, a model for us to admire and emulate.
Significance in Service
Wise parents know that as children mature they should be given responsibilities in the family to help them feel a part of the family enterprise. By having family goals and a sense of purpose that incorporates a family’s children in the purpose of achieving those goals, a child’s feeling of belonging to the family increases and that his or her life has meaning and that his or her efforts are valued.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day claimed that they were children of God, and heirs of the promises made to Abraham. The irony was that they were also plotting to murder Jesus, something that would have been anathema to Abraham, their forefather. Jesus’ took the opportunity to discuss with them the issue of ‘Who is your Father,’ and point out the reality of who his Father was. Jesus’ observations infuriated them. Do you know what he said and why?
Remedy for Separation
Are we ‘attached’ to God our Father, and do we appreciate our relationship to him as his children. Just as children attach to parents and family life, so God’s children are in a deep and abiding, lifelong relationship with him. We need to be close to God, imitating his actions, loyal to his values, feeling loved and appreciated, and knowing that God understands our deepest yearning. And yet. there are times when we misstep, derail, and fall short of God’s expectations for us. What then?