Jesus, And The Father-Heart of God

“All things as they move toward God are beautiful, and they are ugly as they move away from Him.”  ― A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God: Deeper into the Father’s Heart

Why the World Needs a Father

Of the 989,318 babies born in SA in 2018, 61.7% have no information from their father on their birth certificate. According to the Humanities Research Council, 64% of children do not grow up with their biological parents. Statistics SA states that according to the 2016 census, there are 21 890 600 children under the age of 19 in South Africa. That’s 39% of our population of 55,653,654 people! 

In South Africa, statistics reveal a profound issue: a large percentage of children grow up without their biological fathers, leading to widespread social problems such as crime, absenteeism, and behavioral issues. The gospel directly addresses these societal ills by presenting a relationship with a heavenly Father who exemplifies and imparts unconditional love, security, and guidance, contrasting sharply with the often disappointing reality of earthly fathers.

Fathers greatest reward is when their children serves God.
Children’s’ greatest achievement is to serve God.  

The revelation of Jesus is the revelation of the heart of the Father. Jesus’ entire ministry was aimed at glorifying the Father. (John 4:34; 5:30; 14:13)

Through the ages, He calls us as His children to glorify the Father: 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16).

“In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; and you will be my disciples.” (John 15:8).

Clearly, we glorify the Father most when we do His will, bear His fruit, and do what is right!

However, this doing right is rooted in our focus on Christ, and He reveals the heart and will of the Father. Jesus is the perfect will of the Father. The more we sound, do, and live like Jesus, the more the Father is glorified in and through us. This is the fruit of a Jesus-centered life – we reveal His heart and will – Jesus!

The Revolution – Jesus Called the Almighty God Daddy

Jesus transformed our understanding of God by referring to Him intimately as “Father”, a practice unprecedented among the Jews who revered God’s name as too sacred to even pronounce. This portrayal of God as a loving father was not only revolutionary but central to Jesus’ teachings, as shown in numerous passages across the Gospels (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6). This relationship underscores a radical closeness and personal access to God, shifting religious perspective from fear to love.

Through the Bible, the concept of “God as Father” is fairly common, yet there are only 15 direct references to the name “Father”. The understanding and comprehension of the fatherhood role of God takes a dramatic turn with Jesus, because “Father” was His favourite term for addressing God. In the Synoptic Gospels, He says this 65 times and in John more than 100 times. The intimate Aramaic word ‘Abba’ for father appears three times in the NT (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6).

God’s interaction with man and the foundation of faith begins with Abraham and the promise of fatherhood. Then came the generational blessing of God through Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob. The role of the father is therefore central to our faith. The father determines the path and direction in which the family walks. The chaos in our world today can be largely attributed to the absence of fathers.

The Example of Jesus

Jesus’ mission was to glorify His Father, demonstrating through His life how we too should live. He consistently pointed to the Father, teaching us that our actions and lives should reflect our relationship with Him (John 4:34; 5:30; 14:13). Jesus’ deeds and teachings were not his own but those of the Father, showing us that true honour comes from complete obedience and alignment with God’s will. 

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:19-20, 30). 

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38).

“Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.”” (John 8:28).

“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49).

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” (John 14:10)

“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:24)

“But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do….” (John 14:31).

“The Spirit of truth, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own behalf, but whatever he hears, he will speak and announce to you the things to come.” (John 16:13).

“Yet not my will but Your will be done.” (Matt. 26:39).

Failing Fathers Should Point Us to Our Heavenly Father

The imperfections of earthly fathers highlight the perfection of our Heavenly Father. These experiences should not disillusion us but rather draw us closer to God, who never fails (Matt. 23:9). This divine design is meant to guide us beyond human shortcomings to the perfect, unfailing love of God, helping us to understand and appreciate His role as our true Father.

Many of us, myself included, have been grieved by both my biological and several spiritual fathers. In the same token, I have also desperately failed my spiritual Children at times. Over the years I could never understand why when a spiritual child becomes too dependant on me, or emotionally attached my spirit would become uncomfortable.

Godly earthly fathers directs us to see God the Father and to be dependent on Him.

Note the admonition in Matt. 23:9: 

“Do not call anyone on earth as” Father “, for One is your Father, the Father in heaven!”
We should therefore always insure that as spiritual fathers and mothers, we intentionally look for ways to push the chicks out of the nest and spread their wings. Nowadays you hear of kids still living with their parents while in the middle years! This does not bring honour to the child or the parents! Convenience is the greatest enemy and obstacle towards growing into maturity.

When We Are Close to the Father the Following Character Traits Will Be Evident:

Certainty of Identity:

Knowing God as Father solidifies our spiritual identity. (1 John 3:9; John 3:4-5) 
We Receive New DNA. We are born of God, born again as new creatures from His seed (1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:9; John 3:1-10; 2 Cor. 5:17). We can, therefore, not try or strive to be more like His children. We are His children or not. We became His children, not by works, but by our faith (Rom. 4:5) and His great mercy (Eph. 2:8). (See John 1:12) 

Sense the Value of Family: 

All the NT text verses where God appears as Father refer to our relationship and connection with Him. 

There is currently an overemphasis on God as our “lover”, but do you know Him as Father? Father implies discipline and growing up to adulthood. The Father determines the final destination to which children walk. So many people have no direction because they do not know the Father. 

Jesus taught us how to pray, not “my Father that is in heaven” but “OUR Father”. 

When we live from the Father as our source, we recognize and cherish our place in God’s family, understanding the roles and responsibilities this entails (Eph. 4:13-16).  

The way of the father is always in the light of the Family. The church is plagued by an toxic idea pathogen called “INDIVIDUALISM”.  This is a lens through which we see the world, that we cannot help.  You obviously look at the world through the lens of how you feel, what you know, your upbringing, culture, and primary need at a given moment.  Once you meet with the Father, you will see that He opens your eyes to see the world through the eyes of others.  This is called empathy.  

Noble & Royal Protocol and Manners:

The Father determines the protocol and manner in which family members act towards one another. The Father’s heart should eventually becomes the heart of the family.  Every family has a certain way of doing things in terms of what it values, protocols, habits, and even purpose.  The Father instructed Jesus to understand a Kingdom way of doing things like: Forgiveness, servanthood, care for the poor, giving and reciprocity.  The kingdom of God is therefore not a destination; it is an operating system of doing things the Father’s way. 

We do things in the opposite spirit because we have died and are dying to ourselves. We love our enemies, we bless those who curse us, and we pray for those who abuse us (Luke 6:35 and Matt. 5:43-48).

He Answers Our Prayers: 

If one of your children’s friends ask for a Christmas present, and you bake him a special birthday cake, you will think indignantly, where is your mother? The boy is not your responsibility. However, if your child asks for something, you as a parent would immediately help. Jesus therefore draws us in as family members, to be able to ask now with confidence.

The following promises are a wonderful gift from the Father. 

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14).

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16).

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24).

We Have Boldness and Access to the Father: 

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:19-23). 

The same boldness and comfort that God gives us to be able to ask also unlocks access. We can, as in our own homes, be comfortable and bold and appropriate what belongs to us.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 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.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Rom. 8:14-16).

Heirs:

We are with Christ co-heirs of the glory and grace of God (Gal. 4:1-7 and Rom. 9: 15-17). You can only claim your inheritance when the testator is dead. Jesus died, and rose again! So we have a share in the inheritance!  The core of this inheritance lies in the work of the Holy Spirit in us, which gives us the courage to call the God and Creator of the universe “Daddy”.

“and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom. 8:17).

May the Lord open our spiritual eyes to appropriate this rich inheritance (Eph. 1: 17-23).

Request Discipline: 

Discipline from our heavenly Father is a sign of His love and a means to grow in righteousness.  

True children of God welcome correction. 

“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.” (Heb. 12:5-11).

Testimony of Conquering Satan:

True children of God can testify that there are areas in their lives where they have overcome satan’s hold. 

“I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:12-14).

Our aim is to finally be able to declare like Jesus: 

“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”(John 14:30).

Maturity:

Close communion with God fosters spiritual maturity, guiding us to live out His will (Gal. 4:19). The simple truth is: until you know the Father you will remain immature. Immaturity is often a sign of an absent father. The primary role of the Father is to mature a child, the primary role of the Mother is to nurture the child. Both are important.

We are most mature when we are most Christ-like particularly in difficult and challenging times. Mature in faith, character, habits, identity, thinking, emotions, and urges.

Linked in the Body: 

Our connection with God enhances our unity with others in the church, promoting growth and mutual support. The Father will never keep you in isolation. When Jesus faced hardship, he would spend the night in solitude with the Father, like after receiving the news of John the Baptist’s cruel death. The next day however, He was healing the sick.

“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 

that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 

but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:13-16).  

Like any Father, God the Father wants His family members to live in peace and harmony with one another (John 17:21). We do not have to strive for unity, He has united us. However, we must fight to maintain unity and connectedness.

Giving:

We emulate the generosity of the Father, understanding the joy and responsibility of giving (Luke 11:13; John 3:16).

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…” (John 3:16).

The first realization of the Father’s heart is His penetrating, unfathomable love: 

“For the Lord is good; his love endures forever; his faithfulness endures to all generations.” (Ps. 100: 5).

God loves everyone. God does not have enemies, for He also loves those who rebel. There is nothing more beautiful than when someone trapped in the darkest most heinous sin, meets God’s love! The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) is a good example of the Father’s love standing firm forever waiting for us to turn to Him!

But until we turn back to Him, His love cannot be fulfilled in us. Our turning away and continual walking away unfortunately has bitter consequences because we turn away and walk away from the protection and rich fulfillment in His love.

Non-Partiality:

God’s impartial love teaches us to treat all people with fairness and dignity, reflecting His justice (John 13:16; Luke 12:13-14).

The Father Never Chooses Sides
Jesus’ impartiality is very clear: 
  • He treats women with the same respect and equality as men: the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4)
  • The woman who suffered from bleeding. (Matt. 9:18-22, 32-33)
  • The Greek woman from Syro-Phenicia. (Mark 7: 24-30)
  • The place and role of the woman is restored: Mary anoints His feet (John 12: 1-8), and a woman anoints Jesus’ feet. (Matt. 26: 6-13; Mark 14:3)
No distinction between employer and employee: 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” (John 13:16).

Even when parties are brought before Him that do the same, He opens the field: 

“Those who are not against us are for us.” (Mark 9: 38-40). 

“Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”” (Luke 12:13-14).

This impartiality of God is sometimes difficult for us to understand, but for a child it is important that we also be so just in our actions. It makes a child strong, if they know their parents are fair, then they gain respect for the parent.

Leaders, parents and business owners who know and live the Father Heart of God bring calm, security, and direction to their family, congregation, and business. One of the characteristics of people who truly follow Jesus is that they see and discover the heart of the Father. In the process, the Holy Spirit reveals through the Word our orphan mentality, short-sightedness and a self-centered, self-driven, selfish, self-life. A true Father wants to be in the background, almost invisible, and watch His children come to light.

Protection and Empowerment: 

God protects and empowers us as a father would, equipping us for spiritual battles and life’s challenges (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21). 

The role of the Father is twofold: Coaching to maturity and protection. Therefore, when Jesus chooses His followers and begins to teach and coach them, we see the following coaching formula repeatedly in Jesus’ ministry:

  • Show how.
  • Go do it.

This recipe is beautifully illustrated where Jesus asks the disciples to feed the crowd: 

“And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.” (John 6:1-15; Mark 6:35-44). 

Then He showed them what to do and He taught them the deeper truth. God protects His children, and will never betray us, but He also wants us to grow to maturity. Some parents are overprotective and the children never become adults. Others do not protect at all, and the children feel betrayed. God the Father maintains a sovereign, all-wise balance so that we both feel loved but grow to become mature.

Need Both the Roles of the Father & Mother: 

Acknowledging the distinct but complementary roles of both parents helps us appreciate the full spectrum of God’s nature and provision.

There is a clear biological but also psychological distinction and difference between being a man and being a woman, and between fatherhood and motherhood. The world wants to destroy this distinction.

But God is the Creator and Maker. He knows what He has created in us. A mother cannot take over the role of the father completely, and neither can a father completely take over the role of the mother. The two roles complement each other because the fullness of Christ cannot be fulfilled in one role. The role of the rest of the family is just as essential.

Role of a Mother:

“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” (1 Thes. 2:7).

Role of a Father: 

“as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thes. 2:11-12).

The examples where Jesus calls different women “daughters” are special and show the heart of the Father towards women! (Mark 5:34); little girl (Luke 9:22).

Eternal Realities and Perspective: 

A relationship with our Heavenly Father anchors us in eternal truths, guiding our actions and aspirations (Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:17-23). The Father Abides in Eternity. Everything about Him is Eternal. Thus the more time you spend learning from the Father, the more you will see eternal perspectives in life.

God’s love is unconditional and Conditional:

Read John 3:16 again. God loved the world and gave His Son. The condition is that those who believe in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. 

As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.” (Ps. 103: 13).

God’s love is to save, heal and set us free so that we can achieve His purpose. (Rom. 8:29) A dad’s heart rejoices when he sees his children develop to their full potential. We so want to hear and know that God loves us, but we cannot continue to recklessly follow our own heart.

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4)

His love is for all, but for you to really experience it personally you have to receive Him, and give His love like He did to others.  This is how the full circle of His love becomes real!  

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