Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Importance of "Fathers"

Father's Day should hold a special kind of emphasis for Christian Childlovers because it should remind us first and foremost about our heavenly Father, who loved us before our earthly father ever knew us. God leads us by example like a father, and so He's given us His example through His Son. Christ emphasized over and over that that He and the Father are "one," and that "nobody knows the Son except the Father, and nobody knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him" (Luke 10:22).

Christians are all called to become adopted "sons of God" right along with Christ Jesus, the Son, who even calls us His "brethren" (Hebrews 2:11) when we are "begotten by God" in this way in baptism (this is what it means to be "born again by water and spirit" John 3:5). The Spirit we receive is the Holy Spirit. If we are begotten of God, then he is our Father, and we should let Him lead us as His children, trusting in His judgement as children that He will always love us and provide for us. "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11). God established earthly "fatherhood" to show us kind of what the Fatherhood of God is like, but obviously God's Fatherhood is infinitely greater. In fact, "eye has not seen" it (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9).

God first revealed Himself as "Father" and in doing so invites us to ask ourselves as Christian Childlovers what kind of "father" we are being in our daily lives if we are living by His example as His children? When we look at a crucifix, it should be our example, especially if we have been graced by God with "adopted sons and daughters" of our own ("young friends"). Are we also laying down our lives, our ambitions, our desires for them as He did for us? Are we drawing on the example our Father in heaven gave us in His son on the cross that through Him we may be a better example for those God also loves? Jesus the Son even says, in His typically stark terms, "call no man on earth your father, for you have one Father, and He is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9). Truly, we can not be good fathers on earth until we first recognize that we are sons of our Father in heaven.

What does God do as Father and Son? The Son inspires us to "love" the Father, and the Father tells us to "love" His Son (“This is my beloved Son; listen to him!" (Mark 9:7)). The Holy Spirit is that "Love" they share together. So we have to do as He did. One of the ways we can inspire the "love" of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in our young friends is to be good "father figures" for them... not so much for our own good, nor even specifically for theirs, but in the knowledge that when they look at you and see the "good father figure" in you, that by your loving example and personal sacrifices for them they will later know the meaning of that Most Loving Example and that Most Personal Sacrifice of their Heavenly Father, who is God. That will always be for their ultimate good, and yours. When they see you, do they see the love of God poured out on the cross? If you don't provide the example of a father's love first, how will they ever know their heavenly Father's love?

Just Like My Daddy

God, I bet you are really big and strong, just like my daddy.
God, I bet you sing happy songs, just like my daddy.
God, I bet you cheer for me when I get to first base, just like my daddy.
God, I bet you have a smiling face, just like my daddy.
--Author Unknown

It should be no surprise that "fatherhood" (whether by blood or by spiritual adoption in some way) is so demoralized and under-appreciated in everyday life and why so many who call themselves "Childlovers" go so easily astray when they tempt children into lives of sin, because Satan knows how important a father's love is and will do anything to destroy it! So don't let it be so with you. Even if you don't know any children, just be a good man for children in the world, and so be moved to imitate the loving relationship of the Triune God, who is Love Himself poured out among Himself, sacrificing Himself for those He loves whether they receive it or not, and then go pour that out for others by your own example and sacrifices, especially your young friends or children in general, so that because they know a father's love, they will know their heavenly Father's love, which is Love.

Grace and peace be to you.

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