Get to Know God as Father
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’” (Matthew 6:9, NIV)
In the Old Testament, God is called “Father” only seven times. People just didn’t think of God as Father. They thought of him as Creator, Almighty One, God of Israel, and so on.
Then Jesus came along and said this is how people should pray: Call him “Father.” Jesus uses the expression more than 150 times when he refers to God.
In calling God “Father,” Jesus shattered stereotypes of God. God is not an angry tyrant, the universal killjoy, or an impersonal force. Instead, he is a personal God, and he created you with the ability to have a relationship with him. That’s what he wants more than anything else.
There’s only one problem. For many people, the word “father” is a negative term; it brings up all kinds of bad memories. A lot of people say, “‘Our Father in heaven’? If God’s like my father, then no thanks.”
The truth is, while many people have wonderful fathers, other fathers are fickle, moody, abusive, controlling, and violent. Saying “our Father in heaven” can carry painful baggage.
Many people unconsciously think God is like their earthly father. This may not be a problem if their father was kind, wise, and loving. But if their father was unreasonable, they think God is unreasonable. If he was unreliable, that must mean God is unreliable. If they have a hard time connecting with their father, they assume they’ll have a hard time connecting with God.
When you project your hurts and emotions onto God, it’s no wonder you have a hard time connecting with him. Misconceptions will keep you disconnected from God.
Instead, let go of misconceptions and myths so you can understand the truth about God the Father. He loves you, and he’s with you and for you! You’ll find that truth will set you free -- free to know God and to love him!
Talk It Over
In what ways have earthly fathers helped you understand God? In what ways have they hindered your relationship with God?
In what ways do you relate well to your earthly father, or to a father figure in your life? Do you identify with God in the same ways?
How can you set aside your own misconceptions about fathers and get to know who God the Father really is?
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This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.