Whenever a rich man goes about, sometimes whispers from those around would accompany him… “Hey, do you know this person is the son of…” Often times, it is spoken out of his enviable position as a rich man’s son, his privilege of being able to leverage this relationship for anything he needs for his life and of his special access to his father, anytime.
At Jesus’ baptism, God said to Jesus and declared it before all creation, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). During His earthly ministry, Jesus addressed God as “my Father” (Matt 11:27), “my heavenly Father” (Matt 15:13) and “Righteous Father” (John 17:25). The depth of affection and intimacy come into clearest focus at Gethsemane when He cried out, “Abba Father” (Abba is Aramaic for father, the modern day equivalent is “Daddy” or “Pa Pa”). Also, one reason the Holy Spirit was sent to be with and in Him was to be the mark of His Sonship.
Today, through Jesus Christ and the cross, all believers are adopted as sons and daughters of God (Gal 4:4-7) and have received the privilege of not just addressing God as “Heavenly Father” (Matt 6:26) but also relating to Him as “Abba Father” (Rom 8:15-16). No wonder, when Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He taught them to call on God as “Our Father in Heaven” (Matt 6:9). Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is sent to be with and in every believer, affirming their adoption into sonship.
The Father wants and yearns for us to relate with Him as His children. However, it is quite common to find believers addressing God as “Heavenly Father” but not relating to Him as “Abba Father”. There is a difference. In the former, whilst there is a relationship, it is a distant one. The latter is an intimate father-son relationship (out of His love and grace for us).
Hence, there are at least four implications for us as His children:
- We want to live our lives in a way that pleases our Father (Luke 3:22). What will please Him is for us to know His plan for the world and know His calling for our lives (Ps 139:16, Jer 29:11, Isa 48:17). Then, we need to align our desires, ambitions and goals with His and live them out according to His ways and timing.
- We carry out our calling not relying on our own strengths or abilities but by anchoring on His provision (Matt 6:26,30, Phil 4:19), protection and blessings (Job 1:10a) for success. No doubting, no fears.
- We throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run the race marked out for us (Heb 12:1) with perseverance to finish it well (John 17:4, Matt 25:21).
- As we go about living out our calling, God the Father wants us to regularly draw near and commune with Him. Share our hearts with Him openly like a little child would to his/her parents. Tell Him exactly how we feel about things, including our personal desires and ambitions, excitement, joys and laughter, and disappointments and hurts. Then we also want to listen with respectful silence, His views of things, His heartbeat and His will. And if we needed a clarification (we often do) we should ask and dialogue with our Abba Father.
Beloved, we are God’s children (1 John 3:1) – what a privilege! Therefore, let us carry ourselves knowing who we are and whose we are.
By Sam Tan, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 24&25 October 2015)