GOD AS FATHER, US AS SONS
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!" (I John 3: 1)
God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.'" Here is God, the procreator, God the Father. This marks a clear change in the creation story. Although God
clearly authored the plants and animals, the water and dry land, the day and night and all the heavenly bodies, He fathered Adam and Eve. He intentionally
put into them the likeness of Himself.
In the beginning, Adam was created as a son. That was how Adam knew God - as the One Who gave him Life, the One Who fathered him. In the beginning, Adam had a home with Father, and they lived in perfect communion and relationship. But Adam broke that communion. In that moment, he forfeited a birthright that included dominion over the earth and intimate fellowship with God. He was still born of God, but no longer existed in a relationship of sonship. The likeness he bore to his Father began to be eroded and covered over by sin.
But Father could not bear the loss of His children, and so He planned for our redemption. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. (Eph. 1: 4b- 5) Your identity and relationship as a son or daughter of God is the primary component of redemption. The whole point of the cross was to restore the sons of Adam to the truth of their design as the sons of God.
God's affection for us has absolutely nothing to do with anything we deserve or earn. We cannot make Him love us more than He already does. Love is what springs from One who designed and labored over our lives, breathing His own life's breath into our bodies. Love is what pours from One who is delighted with us, truly overjoyed to be our father. And love is what causes Him to watch over us with tenderness and compassion and fierce protectiveness. This is the heart of Father. This is love. (e.g., Deut. 10: 15 (KJV); Micah 7: 18- 19; Jer. 31: 3; Zeph. 3: 17)
In the same way that a husband and wife long to create a child that is born of their love and of their union, God longed to create you. You are the beloved of God, created to be His son, His child. You were created for God's pleasure; your very existence delights Him. He wants to live in intimate relationship and partnership with you. That is our ultimate destiny and our true identity.
One of the best summaries of how Father feels about you as His child is the Father's Love Letter, written by Barry Adams of Father Heart Communications). Click here to read it.
Jesus exemplifies life as a son.
we come into relationship with God through Jesus' death and resurrection, we receive the Spirit of Sonship. He causes us to be sons by adopting us. As sons, we inherit the life of the
Son, the identity of sons, and the ministry of the Son. As the ultimate Son, Jesus teaches us how to walk in these things.
1. Affection, intimacy, & confiding Luke 3: 22 John 5: 20; 15: 9 NAS
Long before any issue of obedience or sacrifice, Father loved His Son, and Jesus loved His Father. All of Jesus' obedience flowed from His love for His Father. All that He suffered, all that He risked, all that He gave up was because He was rooted and grounded in that love. This is the kind of relationship that results in bear hugs and kisses, not handshakes. (Eph. 3: 17-19, AB)
you come into the love of Jesus for you, you come into the love of the Father and the heart of the Son. Salvation was meant to be a joyous, deeply emotional event. Your adoption isn't a
business offer or some obligatory transaction, but one born purely of love and longing.
Love and intimacy lead to confiding in, sharing secrets and information. (John 5: 20) Understanding that with your heart (not just head) produces the behavior of affection:
2. Imitation: "You're just like your father" (John 5: 19; 1: 18 AB. Luke 6: 35-36, AB) We are called into intimate sonship where we really come to know Father - what He thinks and feels about things. And then, the expectation is that as sons who bear His name, we would accurately reflect that to the world.
3. The family name (John 17: 11-12; Phil. 2: 9-11 NAS)
Loyalty to the family name is a form of loyalty to the family. Father (Yahweh) gave Jesus His own Name (Jesus means "Yahweh saves") with the expectation that Jesus
would do everything possible to preserve its honor. We have been given Jesus' title: "Christians", or "little Christs". We need to guard the reputation of the family name by not
engaging in behaviors and attitudes that would dishonor it.
4. Loyalty and Responsibility 1 John 4: 20-21; Col. 3: 15-16
are the differences between being a son in a family and being the friend of the son who is present as a guest in the home? Both may benefit from the family's resources, but the two boys
differ in their responsibility to the family. The friend has a duty to be polite, grateful for the provision and kindness, and respectful of the host family's rules while in their home.
But the son's responsibilities go far beyond that. He is expected to participate in the life of the family, to help take care of its members, to guard its reputation.
don't need for God to prove His love for us; he has, at the cross." (pg. 174, The Journey of Desire) And yet, over and over again, we weak-hearted sons find ourselves willing to
entertain the questions, "Does God love me? Is God good? Can Father be trusted?" Those questions are never appropriate for sons. (The Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of
One of the most basic behaviors of sonship is to continue to engage in the very thing that made us sons to begin with: faith, particularly in the character of Father and of Jesus.
Deut. 1: 26-27 contains one of the clearest descriptions of faithlessness in the entire Bible. After being rescued from Egyptian slavery and receiving God's repeated miraculous provision in route to the promised land (e.g., manna from heaven, water from a rock, safety from enemies), Israel loses its collective mind. "In spite of this," - against all evidence of Father's tender affection and commitment to them, Israel renders this accusation: "The LORD hates us." (Deut. 1: 30-32)
6. Openness to instruction: "Those whom I
[dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]." Rev. 3: 19, AB
you completely forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and
discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges,
every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure correction for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there
whom his father does not thus train and correct and discipline? Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all of God's children share, then you are illegitimate
offspring and not true sons at all." (Hebrews 12: 5-11, AB)
did Herod try to kill Jesus as a baby? Ultimately, It was because of Jesus' sonship. He is Father's son and sons inherit their fathers' thrones and
kingdoms. A king had been born and Herod felt threatened by that.
What was the Pharisees' primary complaint against Jesus (i.e., what got Him killed)? His claim to be the son of God. They could tolerate all the other things Jesus did - the miracles, the healings and deliverances and raising of the dead. But they could not stomach Jesus' claim to be God's son.
one thing did God publicly address with Jesus at His baptism? The issue of sonship. Out of all the things Father could have addressed (and there are many), He chose this one
thing: "You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased."
This was important for many reasons, but among them was the fact that Jesus was about to face his enemy in the wilderness. What was Satan testing when he harassed Jesus during His 40 day fast in the wilderness? Sonship. The first two tests begin with the phrase, "if you are the son of God". The third tests Jesus knowledge of His inheritance as a son.
One of Satan's primary goals is to prevent sonship. He does this a variety of ways, chief of which is to try to kill us before we can come to relationship with God. It is no accident that children are abused and aborted in record numbers. It was the strategy he tried to use on Jesus through Herod's insecurity.
If Satan fails in preventing sonship, then the goal is to confuse or hide the meaning of sonship. If he fails in that, then he spends the rest of eternity knowing that you are dangerous to him. He regards you as an enemy and is pledged to rob, kill and destroy whatever of your life he can.
Being a son of God means that the battle will be brought to your door. Warfare occurs because of who you are. You cannot stop that. You can, however, win the war. But only if you fight.
Note: some of the content of this teaching was taken from The Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Man. (see publications page for details)
Gen. 2: 24 When Adam first sees Eve, he pronounces her "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh" then says that for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother andcleave/join to his wife. This is the word dabaq, which is also used in the following passage to describe our relationship with God.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life. Deut. 30: 19-20
From the beginning, God designed marriage between men and women to imitate and point to a larger truth and an ultimate destiny: the marriage of Jesus to his Bride.
The ancient Jewish wedding ceremony God gave was a prophetic symbol of Christ and the church. You'll notice that many of the traditions and oral statements foreshadow things that Jesus will say and do. The ceremony was given as a way to help Israel recognize Jesus.
A price would have to be paid for the bride. Jesus (Yeshua), being our bridegroom, paid a very high price for His bride, the body of believers. The price He paid was His life. See I Peter 1:18-19 and 1 Cor. 6:20
Gifts were given to the bride and a cup called the cup of the covenant was shared between the bride and the groom. This completed rite is known in Hebrew as kiddushin, which means "sanctification."
The gifts to the bride are symbols of love, commitment, and loyalty. The gift God gives to those who accept the Messiah is the Holy Spirit. When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He gave gifts to men. These gifts included righteousness, eternal life, grace, faith, wisdom, knowledge, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues as well as the gifts of helps and administration
In addition, at this time the cup of the covenant was shared and sealed between the bride and the groom with the drinking of wine. Jesus spoke of the cup of the New Covenant in Luke 22:20.
The bride had a mikvah (water immersion), which is a ritual of cleansing. It indicates a separation from a former way to a new way. In the case of marriage, it indicates leaving an old life for a new life with your spouse.
The bridegroom departed, going back to his father's house to prepare the bridal chamber. Before he goes, though, he will make a statement to the bride. "I go to prepare a place for you; if I go, I will return again unto you." This is the same statement Jesus made in John 14:1-3 before He went to His father's house in Heaven.
Before the bridegroom could go and get the bride, the groom's father had to be satisfied that every preparation had been made by the son. The bridegroom did not know when his father would declare the bridal chamber to be ready and release him to go get his bride. This is exactly what Jesus was referring to in Mark 13:32 when He said that even He did not know the hour of His return, only Father knows.
The bride was to wait eagerly for the return of the bridegroom. The bridegroom could come at any time, and usually did come in the middle of the night, so she had to be in a constant state of readiness. Jesus referred to this in Matt 25:1-13.
The marriage between the bride and the groom will take place under the chupah or wedding canopy. When the bridegroom approaches the chupah, the cantor chants, "Blessed is he who comes." This is a Hebrew expression meaning "welcome." Jesus said that He would not return for His bride until these words were said (Matt 23:39).
During the wedding ceremony, the groom is regarded like a king under and the bride as a queen. Appropriately then, during the time of Jesus marriage ceremony, He will be crowned King over all the earth and the bride (the believers in Jesus) will live with Him and rule with Him forever. The crowning of the King and the marriage can be seen in Rev. 19: 6-16.
Finally, there is a marriage supper for all the guests invited by the father of the bride. Rev 19:7-16 and 20:4
provides a model or standard for
Malachi 2: 15 "Take heed then to your spirit and let no one deal treacherously (unfaithfully) against the wife of your youth."
On the part of the bride (us): "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his
mouth - for your love
is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! Take me away with
you - let us
hurry!Let the king bring me into his chambers. SoS 1: 1-4;
"He has taken me to his banqueting table and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me." SoS 2: 3-6
On the part of the bridegroom (Jesus): "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. … Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. … Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. … You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice! Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon. SoS 4: 1 - 11
I realize that this may sound very strange to your ears, but sex as part of marriage, is a model for worship. They have very similar characteristics: intimacy, a lack of inhibition, giving oneself wholly over to another, full of adoration, a focus on the Beloved, affirms the worth of the Beloved.
example, the Song of Songs is a picture of the love affair between Solomon and his wife, and also the Great Romance between Jesus, the Husband, and us, His Bride. Consider the language in light
of how it is used to indicate sexual union for the couple as well as how it describes the relationship of adoration between Jesus and us.
SoS 1: 4 the Beloved (female figure): "Take me away with you - let us hurry! Let the King bring me into his chambers." This is the cry of the Bride for union.
Also, the Lover (male figure) in SoS 2: 14 says to the beloved, "show me your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely." This is God calling out to us His desire to be intimate with us. He wants intimate worship that pours out of the nakedness of our souls - not out of duty or to please men, but out of true passion. This is why God is constantly saying to us that our heart attitudes are more important to Him than outward shows of religious behavior. He wants worshippers who worship in spirit and truth of heart.
The following passage demonstrates God's pairing of sex and worship through a passage in Romans 1. God assigns judgment to the people's idolatry (which is a worship sin) in the form of allowing sexual perversion to flourish unchecked.
In the context of Rom 1: 18-27, verses 25/26 say that "they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Because of this God gave them over to shameful lusts …"
relationship between sex and worship is why God addresses sexual sin so strongly. When sex is misused, it no longer helps to point us to spiritual truth (just as bad marriages fail to be
accurate prophetic symbols). It also explains satan's aggressive attempts to pervert sexuality and to entice us into the misuse of it. As with many other issues, satan has covered sex and
sexuality with lies, and our culture has endorsed those lies. (E.g., you can engage in sex without it meaning anything). Unfortunately, the church's response has largely been to focus
exclusively on the "thou shalt nots" associated with sexuality rather than imparting a vision for what Godly sexuality represents.
the Spirit, we have not guarded our marriage relationship with God. We have bitterness toward Him, anger, blame, and suspicion. We have broken faith (i.e., believed wrong things, not
believed the best of Him, broken our loyalty.) We have walked in a spirit of harlotry and have given our worship to things that aren't worth it. It is not a surprise then, that those same
things show up in our human marriages.
This is the end of the age when God is raising up a righteous remnant who will walk the earth in truth, and who will accurately represent the grace of God. If we are to be part of that remnant, we must be transformed - including our marriages. Marriage has to return to the truth of its original design: a representation of the way in which Jesus loves and relates to His Body.
Hosea 2: 14-23 & Eph. 5: 21-33. Designed to tell us something about how God feels about us and how He wants us to relate to Him. E.g.,
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. …I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion .. I will show my love to the one I called "Not my loved one.' I will say to those called 'not my people', 'you are my people'; and they will say 'you are my God.'"
"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own
bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. .. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound
mystery- but I am talking
about Christ and the church.
Below, you will find The Husband's Love Letter. We developed this based on a series of scriptures to help you hear the heart of Jesus as your Husband.
Note: much of the information concerning the Jewish wedding ceremony is taken from The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, by Eddie Chumney. For more information about this topic or Mr. Chumney's books, visit his ministry website, Hebraic Heritage Ministries International.
The Husband's Love Letter
Arise, my darling, my love, my beautiful one, and come away with me.
I have chosen you; I have called you by name and you are mine.
Let me be your husband. (Jer. 3: 14; Is. 43: 1)
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come,
the time of birdsong in the land.
Arise, my love, my beauty, come away with me. (SS 2: 10-13)
I have loved you from the beginning of time and will love you 'til its end.
Eternity itself will hear of my love for you. (Jer. 31: 3)
Look at you - how beautiful you are. (SS 1: 15)
You fill me with joy and I find myself singing and shouting your name. (Zeph. 3; 17)
You are carved into the palms of my hands
and your face is always before my eyes. (Is. 49: 16)
I will be yours 'til the end. I will carry you through flood and fire.
I will be the Kinsman-Redeemer in the midst of your distress to rescue and save you. (Is. 43: 2; 63: 9)
I will know every tear you cry, for they are precious to me. (Ps. 56: 8)
Everything about you is beautiful, my love - perfect and unique;
you are flawless to me. (SS 4: 7; 6; 9)
You are a garden locked up, my bride; a spring enclosed, a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water. Open to me, my darling, my dove. (SS 4: 12; 5: 2)
In the clefts of the rock, in the secret place on the mountainside,
show me your face, let me hear your voice for your voice is sweet and your face is
lovely. (SS 2: 14)
You have stolen my heart, my bride;
You have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes.
You have ravished my heart and in so doing, given me courage. (SS 4: 9)
How sweet is your love! Better than fine wine!
And your fragrance fills me like a flower's perfume fills the air. (SS 4; 10)
I am overwhelmed by the look in your eyes. (SS 6: 5)
You are like a tree laden with fruit and I long to climb your branches,
to breathe the sweet fruit of your mouth, to taste your exquisite
delights (SS 7: -10)
When the day's cool breeze comes up and the shadows lengthen,
I will get myself to your mountain of myrrh, to your hill of
frankincense. (SS 4; 6)
All of my desire is for you. (SS 7: 10)
I want to show myself to you, to tell you my secrets. (John 14: 21; 5: 15; Matt. 13: 11)
THE TRUTH OF YOUR IDENTITY AND CREATION
1. All people are created by
God (Ps. 139) and given to families as an act of grace (Gen. 33: 5).
There is a common misconception that pregnancies are the result or consequence of having sex. This then leads to another misconception that pregnancies can be a kind of punishment if the people have engaged in sex outside of marriage. But the truth is that children are the result of God's effort and not man's. (e.g., Ps. 127) While God uses our behavior as a means of getting children to the earth, having sex does not guarantee pregnancy (ask any couple who is trying to have a child). God authors us. We do not create life. We only receive it from the One who does.
2. Consequently, people are never an accident, but always planned by God (Ps. 139: 13-16). They might be a surprise to their parents, but are never a surprise to God. By extension, this also means that your gender is not an accident, nor a curse. Girls are sometimes made to feel less than. This happens in subtle and not so subtle ways. (E.g., some cultures endorse aborting girl babies or abandoning them after birth.) But the truth is that God made you the gender He wanted for you.
3. You were foreknown by God
before the foundation of the world (Jer. 1: 4-5; Eph. 1: 4; Eph. 2: 10)
4. God always wanted and planned for you to be His child thru adoption. (Eph. 1: 4-6) He wants no one to perish or to remain an orphan. (2 Peter 3: 9; Matt. 18: 14)
5. You were born to be a
blessing (Ps. 127)
6. There is a grace that has been individually and uniquely apportioned to you (Eph. 4: 1, 7, 11; I Cor. 12: 4 - 31)
7. You were born at the right time, in the fullness of time (Esther 4: 14), and in the right place. (Acts 17: 26)
1. It is vital that you see
your abilities thru the eyes of heaven. Consider the story of Bezalel (Exod. 31: 2-6). I love this story because it blows away the crazy thinking that has plagued the church wherein
we divide the world into natural abilities and spiritual gifts. They are one and the same. Bezalel was an artist, a carpenter, a stone mason. Good blue collar work. But he was
those things only through the Spirit of God. These natural abilities were supernatural in origin - as all natural abilities are -
because they were imparted by God and intended for lofty, God-sized purposes.
Whatever your talents and abilities are, you can be assured that heaven has plans for them. The emphasis isn't merely on the carpentry or the artistry, but on their use by Father to accomplish His purposes on earth. It's time we understood that all of our lives - not just our church lives - are part of the Kingdom of God.
Maybe you're wondering how your life and abilities fit into this picture. Perhaps you don't yet have a vision for how Father intends to use the gifts and abilities He has given you by His Spirit. Ask Him. Let Him speak over the bigness of your life and your calling. Ask Him to show you how your work as a secretary or plumber or lawyer is part of the Kingdom. Ask Father for instructions on how to do what you do unto the Lord, and expect Him to respond with specific strategies and timing.
2. You were created to
reflect God's nature and His glory. You received a grace uniquely apportioned to you. (Eph. 4: 1, 7, 11; I Cor. 12: 4 - 31) This means that you reflect God to the world in a way
that no one else can.
3. God ordained your praise to silence His enemy Ps. 8: 2
4. You are to walk in the ministry of life.
"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?" … Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4: 11, 13-14)
Here is the promise for the sons of God: Life will well up in you and will flow from within you. Flow where? Out. Life will flow out of you and onto those you meet. It will flow out of you onto the ground on which you step. Life will flow from your words and from your hands. It will ooze out between your toes. Living water, which represents theSpirit of God, will pour out of you washing over the lost and weary who have lived in a land where there has been no water. And drinking it, they too will live.
Being a son of God means that you possess the words of life, for that is the nature of the Son after Whom we are patterned. We stand on the earth holding the only words by which men can live. There is nowhere else for the lost to go. They must come into the words of life which light men's darkness. Philippians 2: 14-16 puts it this way,
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life
You, who have become the
righteousness of God, have words in your mouth that will sustain the weary, be a fountain of life and a
source of healing and wisdom. (Is. 50: 4, Prov. 10: 11 & 12: 18) The words have been written on your heart by the Son of Love, by Life incarnate. And the Spirit of the Son will bring
them to your lips. Your only part in this is a faithfulness to utter the words.
John 14: 12-13; John 17: 18 Matt. 10: 1
The Genesis mandate: we are born to rule with authority in the name of Father (Gen. 1: 26). Creation groans and waits for the sons of God to be revealed - that is to return to their authority so that the earth can be reclaimed and redeemed (Rom. 8)
God recently prompted me to do a word study of Psalm 23. This is a very familiar psalm and certain of its phrases have always stirred my heart, but I had never really looked closely at the Hebrew words behind our English rendering. I have always loved the phrase "restores my soul", as it seemed to address all the wear and tear on my heart that comes from living in this place. I was surprised, however, to learn the depth of its intent.
The implication in Hebrew is that in restoring my soul, God returns it back to the point of departure. Our soul, our life and identity, our will and desires, are restored or returned back to the place of their beginning before the Fall - back to agreement with God. Our soul is not merely patched up to its status before the most recent wear and tear, but instead receives renewal, restoration, and reconciliation with the plan of God over our lives.
In the church, we frequently struggle with scripture's insistence that we are saints (which means sanctified or holy ones). Much of our struggle is based on the misunderstanding that sainthood exists on the basis of something we do, for example, extraordinary good works. In the Catholic tradition, the term has referred to a select few who are set apart from other Christians by some inherent miraculous power. But in scripture, the term refers to a state of identity conferred upon us by God. It is what He makes us, not what we do.
In the beginning, Father made us in His image, to reflect His glory. We were holy and without blame, set apart and devoted to Him as a wife might set herself apart for her husband and reserve her affections only for him. But then we departed from it. We gave our affection and delight over to other, less worthy things. We divided our hearts and became tarnished mirrors of His image and glory. But then Father came, and adopted us, and restored our souls. He returned us to the place of our beginning. The place of delight and purity and holiness. He restored us to sainthood, to being holy and set apart, reflecting the truth of Him. Father restored our souls to a position of being blameless and untainted by sin.
The truth of our regenerated hearts is that they are not motivated by greed, or lust, or ambition, but by righteousness and the desire to see Father's plan and Kingdom enacted on earth. God puts it in our heart "to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Phil 2: 13, NAS) Because we "have been crucified with Christ" and no longer live, Christ Himself lives in us. He animates us with His own inclinations and desires (Gal. 2: 20) This means that we live our lives with the very mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2: 16)
To be a parent is to walk in the
father/mother heart of God. God uses parental analogies throughout scripture to illustrate His own heart for us. e.g., Is. 49: 15a. In the same way that true love is defined by God,
so is true fatherhood/motherhood.
Being a parent creates two kinds of opportunities. You get to receive the heart of God who is a parent. And you get to give away that same heart to your children.
There is a validation that parents are meant to give to their children. Parents are supposed to be an accurate mirror for the truth of the children. We are to treat them according to the truth of them as authored by God. This means affirming their worth, ability, potential, and character. No other person has that kind of power in children's lives. Failure to do that creates deep wounding that cuts to the heart of who we are. Similarly, when parents engage in abusive or neglectful behavior, it creates wrong expectations about fatherhood that we then apply to God (e.g., God is silent, critical, disapproving, evil, capricious, doesn't keep promises, is unavailable, etc.)
God designed for there to be a
generational passing of spiritual inheritance and skills. Parents are charged with shepherding the grace that's been given to the family and to its members. Gifting has to be nurtured,
faith matured. We have to learn how to walk in salvation and in gifting.
Parents are also supposed to model proper authority and obedience. You can't exercise authority without being people under authority. This means that as parents are properly submitted to the authority of God over their parenting, they can teach submission, obedience and honoring to their children.
Note: several passages in this teaching are taken directly from The Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Man.