Our Relationship with the Father (Devotional)
by Dwayne Moore
(Excerpt from Heaven’s Praise: Hearing God Say “Well Done”, Day 4 of Week 1)
You’ve no doubt heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” That may be true of our bodies, but when it comes to our minds, emotions, and spirits, we are what we think. And the most profound thoughts any human can have are thoughts about God. How we relate to God and how we believe he relates to us affects every facet of what we do and who we are. So we’d better get our thinking straight about God!
[box] Let’s look at three distinct yet common stances Christians take toward their relationship with God: He’s the Boss–I’m the worker; He’s the Teacher–I’m the student; He’s the Father–I’m his child.[/box]
Let’s assume for a moment we primarily think of God as our boss. What does a boss expect of his employees? He expects them to produce, perform, work hard, and show results for their labor. But a boss has no interest in the workers beyond what they do. Therefore, those who produce the most win the boss’ favor. Those who lag behind and don’t perform up to expectations will be reprimanded or fired. In the purest sense, a boss’ motivation isn’t love for the people who work for him or her. Therefore, a boss feels limited-to-no obligation toward those employees.
I’m thankful that God’s not primarily a boss, aren’t you?
Now let’s try God-as-teacher. What does a teacher expect of students? A teacher wants good grades and high test scores. Teachers often have pet students who perform better and score higher than their classmates. Yet, a teacher rarely has any interest or association with students outside of the classroom. Some teachers aren’t even concerned whether students are applying what they’re learning and whether it’s truly impacting and improving their lives, as long as students are “making the grade.”
I’m very thankful that God isn’t only a teacher, aren’t you?
Please don’t misunderstand me. I know there are many wonderful bosses and teachers who care deeply for the people they’re responsible for, and go way beyond the call of duty to get involved with their lives. But that’s the point I want to make: Godly bosses and teachers have a unique quality about them that comes from another aspect of God–one which encompasses and supersedes all the others.
Please read 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. According to verse 18, what relationship does God long to have with us, his people?
The supreme revelation of God in the Bible is that he is first of all a Father and that he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:14 tells us: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Did you catch those last words? The Father is full of grace and truth. God’s love is unconditional, and he wants us to be his children, so much so that he sent his one and only son, Jesus, to die in our stead. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!” (1 John 3:1a).
Let’s revisit the ideas of God as boss and teacher. As our heavenly Father, God is our boss, whom we are to obey and follow. But unlike other bosses, our Father only wants what’s best for us. We don’t have to perform and work hard to make him accept us. He loves us just as we are. He is pleased with us simply because of who we are–his children. And when we do wrong, he doesn’t get rid of us. Instead, he lovingly disciplines us to make us more like Jesus.
As our teacher, God the Father gently and patiently instructs us through the Holy Spirit. But God’s purpose in teaching us is not so we’ll ace some pop quiz he gives us. Rather, it’s so we’ll know how to live for his glory. And if we fail a test or if we’re not as bright and quick to catch on as others, it doesn’t mean we are less favored in God’s sight. Every one of God’s children is his favorite!
A relationship with a boss can be severed–as quickly as someone can hand you a termination slip, you are out the door, never to return. A relationship with a teacher can run its course and come to an end, and you may never see that teacher again. But a relationship with your Father–now that’s permanent; that’s forever.
Read the powerful words Jesus spoke in John 10:27-30 about our relationship with him and his Father. Then read them again. Let this phenomenal and freeing truth sink into your soul.
I am so incredibly thankful that the God of the Bible, the true and living God, is first and foremost my Father, aren’t you?