Being a dad is one of the most important responsibilities on earth. When you have a child, you inherit one of the titles of God ("Father") and you become a representative of God’s character to your own family. The way in which your children view you will impact how they view their heavenly Father.
The way in which your children view you will impact how they view their heavenly Father.
Jesus teaches this point in a short passage from the Book of Matthew. He explains that we as sinners have parental love instilled in us and know inherently how to give good gifts to our children because our wonderful, good, and holy heavenly Father gives good gifts to His children. When we behave toward our children as our good God behaves toward us, we set the tone for our children to understand who God is.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12
Every one of us has or has had a father, whether he is close, estranged, absent, or passed away. Your relationship or lack of relationship with your earthly father impacts your perspective of God and your relationship with God.
If your earthly father loved you, richly blessed you, and encouraged you often, then you will likely have no problem praying to God in heaven and believing that He will bless you according to his will. If your earthly father demanded that you earn his love and wouldn’t give you an “atta boy” unless you scored five home runs, you may see God as expecting you to perform. In turn, you may work to earn God’s love and forgiveness, and you may have a burden of guilt when you make mistakes and have a difficult time freely accepting His grace and mercy. If your earthly father abused, violated, or abandoned you, it can be very difficult to comprehend that a heavenly Father could be loving or provide for you, so you may believe that you have to do everything for yourself.
God put a father in your life and gave him the responsibility to shape your understanding of your heavenly Father. But whether or not your earthly father lived up to this responsibility, God still does, and He wants to love you, bless you, and provide for you. Today’s message is an opportunity to bring healing into your relationship with your earthly father because whether you know it or not, it does impact your relationship with God.
These are a few things that earthly fathers should do as representatives of our Heavenly Father. They are actions that God provided for His Son, Jesus:
A - Affirmation
Fathers should affirm their children. Matthew 3:17
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
When Jesus was baptized, God’s voice came down from heaven and proclaimed His delight.
Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah found grace in the eyes of God, not judgment, question, or doubt. If you are a father, what are your kids going to find when they look in your eyes? Let them find grace, acceptance, and love.
Tell your children that they are awesome, blessed, amazing, and the joy of your life! Tell them often and tell them publicly. Let them know that they are affirmed whether they hit a homerun or strikeout every at-bat.
B - Blessing
Fathers should bless their children. Philippians 2:19
To bless someone means to pronounce the favor of God over him/her.
Therefore God also has highly exalted [Jesus] and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:19
God blesses Jesus, and He has also blessed us:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
The devil wants you to believe that you have to earn God’s blessings or that you can lose them, but this is a lie. You already have God’s blessings, freely given, and they cannot be earned, lost, or paid back to Him. You need only to receive them and walk in them.
If you are a father, bless your children. Pronounce unmerited favor over them that can never be lost.
C - Covering of Protection
Fathers should provide a protective covering for their children. Matthew 26:53
Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:52
In this verse, Jesus speaks to his disciples as they try to protect him from being arrested. But He clearly states that God the Father is able to provide protection beyond what any man can give. God can get you through the valley of the shadow of death and never leave you for one second. He doesn’t put you in a bubble or protect you from every earthly trial, but He will use every bad experience that happens to make you stronger, more like Him, and victorious in the end.
If your father violated you, abused you, or abandoned you, then he became your pain rather than your protector. God can heal this pain and become the protection that you’ve always missed.
If your own father did not uphold these three obligations toward you, then something between you and your earthly father needs to be reconciled or removed because it most definitely will hinder your relationship with God, causing hesitation, pain, or misunderstanding. Today is an opportunity to forgive, so that you don’t allow it to root and grow into bitterness, jealousy, resentment, anger, etc. Harboring unforgiveness is like taking a poison; you think you are hurting the other person, but you really only hurt yourself. Remember also that forgiveness is not an approval of what happened. Instead, it says, “You hurt me and what you did was wrong, but I am no longer holding you responsible for healing me.” You can give that burden up to God, who loves you unconditionally, and He can heal you and empower you to move forward.
To lead us to into an opportunity to forgive our fathers for their wrongdoings, Pastor Miles acted as a stand-in for our fathers who have offended us. He read aloud many statements of apology for all kinds of wrongdoings that we may have experienced with our own fathers. Is there some wrongdoing or neglect you have experienced from your earthly father? Let your heavenly Father uncover it and heal it today so that you can experience the fullness of relationship with Him!