The belief of God being a Father is central to the Christian faith. But why is God known as a Father? And what impact does this have on our everyday life?
One of the key traits of a child is that they usually long to tell their parents anything and everything. From showing them the painting that they did at school, to screaming loudly in the middle of the night simply to inform their parents that they can’t get to sleep; children have this innate ability to tell their parents whatever they wish, without stopping to think whether or not their mum or dad actually cares.
This sounds harsh, but let’s be real. At a young age, children are yet to learn that not everyone is interested in what they consider to be a life or death situation. This isn’t because their parents don’t care about them, but rather their parents know what makes a situation worth sharing. For example, I’m pretty sure that most parents don’t want to know about the huge booger that their child has just mined from their nose. But the child will still inform of this huge discovery because they haven’t yet learnt how to filter through their thoughts to determine what is worth telling and what should really be kept to themselves.
We frequently see in scripture the reference to followers of Jesus being ‘children of God’ (Romans 8:14), and Jesus goes as far to say that ‘anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’ (Mark 10:15). What is it about children and their mannerisms that cause scripture to regularly use them as an example of what the Kingdom of God is like?
Romans 8:14-16 says the following:
‘For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.’
The word ‘Abba’ is so much more explosive than we realize. It’s the Greek equivalent of ‘papa’, ‘daddy’, or ‘pops.’ Just think about that for a second: we’re able to call the Creator of the entire universe, the One who has absolute authority over everything, the Person who literally spoke things into existence, ‘papa.’ That’s what I call explosive, absurd, and quite frankly ridiculous.
But it is ridiculous, absurd, and explosive in the most amazing way. Paul writes that when the Spirit of God lives inside of you, something extraordinary happens. The Spirit causes you to call the God of the Universe ‘Papa.’ Not only that, Paul says that we can ‘cry’ to God.
Let’s go back to the image of a child crying out to his dad for a second. As I said previously, children have no filter. They just say whatever is on their mind. They don’t need a reason to call out to their dad, they just do. They don’t have to qualify why they’ve shared something that may seem a little bit silly, because they’re children and children long to call out to their dads, no matter how irrelevant what they want to say may be.
God wants this kind of a relationship with us. But he’s even better than an earthly father, because he never thinks that anything you have to say is irrelevant. Even the most ‘perfect’ father on earth will have times when he thinks ‘really, son? Did you really need to tell me that?’ But God will never say that to you, because he is the perfect Father. He is always listening, no matter how silly you feel when you talk to him.
Our Father wants you to cry out to him, to process things with him, and to tell him honestly how you’re feeling. He wants you to say, ‘you know what Dad, this really sucks. This season of my life is difficult and I don’t understand what’s happening and I don’t like it.’ Children don’t stop and think ‘actually, I think I need to make what I’m about to say to papa a little bit neater and nicer’ – no, they are probably the most honest that they will ever be in their whole life.
Everyone who has given their life to Jesus has the Spirit of God living in them. He’s there, I promise. We just need to recognize him and ask him to help us call God ‘Father.’
When you treat God as our Father, our Dad, our Papa, something explodes within you. Something changes. You enter into an even closer relationship with him, and he works in and through you more than you could ever imagine. You walk everyday knowing that your Father is standing right beside you, interested in every single aspect of your life, even the parts that you feel no one would care about.
We need to be honest and tell him anything and everything that is on our minds and hearts, scream out to him when life is feeling like it’s just too much, and get rid of that filter that tells us to ‘stop being so ungrateful and start making your prayers neater.’ It was never meant to be that way. It was always meant to be a raw, messy, intimate relationship with our Dad, because that’s when true relationship happens, and when the most incredible change explodes in you.
Jesus told us to refer to God as ‘Father’ (Matthew 6:9-13). What’s more, every single recorded prayer that Jesus said begins with ‘Abba’ or ‘Father’, except for one occasion: when he is nailed to the Cross and cries, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46).
The only time Jesus refers to his Father, as God is when he was purchasing our access to God so that we could call him Father.
What a beautiful, ridiculous, incredible, explosive transaction that we should thank God for daily. May we remember that he truly is our Father. Our Dad. Our Papa.
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.