“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9)
One of the best ways to get to know God is to learn the different names that describe Him. Each of His names describes something about Who He is and what He does. One of the most often-used names of God in the Bible is the name Father. What is a father? What is a father like? Why might it be important that God is called a father? How should I think about a fatherly God?
To be a father, you have to have children. Usually a father lives with the children he helped bring into the world. Some fathers are fathers because they have adopted a child. If a husband and wife adopt a child, it means they go and get a child who does not have parents for some reason, and they take him into their home. An adoptive father treats his adopted child the same way he would treat a biological child.
A father is responsible to take care of his children. He provides them with food, clothes, a place to live, things they need, and maybe even some things they just want. He does that because he loves his children and wants to see them healthy and happy. No human father could ever be a perfect father, but most human fathers try at least to be good fathers. A good father teaches his children right from wrong, and he helps them to do what is right. Sometimes he has to discipline his children for doing wrong. Have you ever been disciplined by your father for doing wrong? If so, it was because he loves you and wants the best for you. A father also helps his children make the right choices. He hugs his children and tells them he loves them. He is there to comfort his children when they are hurt or are sad, or when they have a bad day.
God is a father, too. He has many, many children. His children are those who have turned away from their sin and are trusting in Him. He is everybody’s God and everybody’s Creator, because He created everyone, and it is because of Him that everyone has breath and life. But He is known as “Father” only to those who trust in Him, His adopted children. If we are God’s adopted children, it means God brought us into His family just like a human father adopts a child and brings him into his family. If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, Jesus is like an “older brother” to us. He has gone before us and made it possible for us to have father-child relationships with God.
God adopts children into His family because He loves them and wants the best for them. Because He loves us, He provides food and houses and air and every good thing in our lives. He teaches us right from wrong by giving us His Word. He helps us to under-stand His Word by His Holy Spirit and the parents and teachers He gives us. He also disciplines us when we do wrong because He knows doing wrong will hurt us. In these ways – through His Word and through the things He gives us – He reminds us that He loves us. And He is always there to comfort us when we get hurt or have a bad day.
What is so much more special about a father-child relationship than other kinds of relationships? If you have turned from your sins and trusted in Christ, then you are not just God’s “pet.” He doesn’t just feed you and teach you new tricks. You are not God’s “invention” or “robot.” You don’t exist just because God wants to boss you around or boast about all the neat talents He’s built into you. If you really have turned away from your sins and entered into God’s family by adoption, then you are (and always will be!) His child. God’s children can expect Him to act like a father.
Is God truly your father? Have you turned away from your sins? Are you trusting in Christ as your Savior and “older Brother”? If so, how do you feel about being a child of God? It should make you happy because you can trust He is always there for you, no matter what happens. He loves you very, very much – not just as any father, not just as any good father, but as the only perfect Father.
God is the heavenly Father of any who trust in Christ as Savior.
» Do I know God as my Father?
» Am I happy and thankful for all He does for me?
» Do I really love Him as a child loves a father?