Who is the Father?
By Lisa Nuss
We started a new sermon series at church yesterday titled, “Who is God?” That’s such a big question, isn’t it? Ask ten people, and you may hear ten different answers! As Christians, we believe in the Trinity – one God that exists in three distinct persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), each being fully God, but only one true God. Confusing? It certainly can be.
An analogy that I’ve often heard used to try and make this idea easier to grasp is that of an egg. There are three main parts to an egg – shell, white, yolk. All three parts are different, but all still egg, and together make up one egg. Now, any analogy can only take you so far in understanding. Studying what the Bible has to say about all of this is the most important way to learn about who our triune God really is. And the truth is, we may never fully understand how it works on this side of heaven, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to learn as much as we can while we’re here! I’d also encourage you to watch yesterday’s service online if you missed it, and the upcoming two weeks as well in order to help you grow in your understanding of the Trinity.
But today I’d like to talk a bit about God the Father, even though I certainly don’t have it all figured out! What image comes to your mind when you hear the word “father?” There are stereotypes such as the disciplinarian father, the goofy father, the sports father, etc. But there are as many different fathers as there are men, because each one has been created uniquely and comes to the job of fatherhood with different experiences, personality traits, and ideas about what a father should be.
It’s practically inevitable that hearing about God the Father will bring up thoughts about our own fathers, for good or bad. Growing up, my father fit more in the fun/goofy parent mold and he was supportive and involved in what I was doing, so when I first came to know God and think about Him as Father, my thoughts were pretty positive. I know that’s not the case for many people.
I don’t have any idea what your father is like or if you even know your father. But I do know this – there is no father on planet Earth that is perfect. Even if you have the greatest father ever, he isn’t perfect, because human perfection isn’t possible. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus encourages us to be perfect, “even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” So if you think about your idea of the best earthly father, knowing that even the best father isn’t perfect, this verse is telling us that God as Father is even better than that.
But this doesn’t mean that God the Father is solely the gracious, merciful, kind, and loving father that we may want. He definitely is all of those things and more, but He is also the kind of Father who wants the best for His children, and that sometimes requires some correction. This is often where people get the idea that God is a judgmental ruler who exists to punish us for every little thing we do wrong. This is a very skewed and inaccurate concept of God the Father. A good earthly father wouldn’t allow his children to do things that weren’t good for them, right? Similarly, our good Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to remain trapped in behaviors or attitudes that will ultimately do us harm. That being said, He doesn’t do this to condemn us or to make us feel horrible about ourselves – He does it for our benefit! This is where He shows his love, grace, and mercy to us by guiding us and leading us into becoming the people He made us to be, and ultimately more like Him.
The song “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin is a great song, and I love these lyrics in particular:
“You’re a good, good father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You”
His love doesn’t come with conditions or requirements – it’s perfect, unconditional, pure love. I pray that this week you will open yourself up to the perfect love that your heavenly Father wants to pour out on you.
Who was your favorite TV dad? What was it about him that made you love him so much?
Question 1: As a kid, how was “God” expressed or talked about in your home? What was your understanding of him?
Question 2: How do you see God now?
Question 3: This week Pastor Bryan talked specifically about God the Father and said the word “father” can often be a sticky word. When you hear or say the word “father”, does that bring up more positive or negative feelings for you? Why?
Question 4: How do you think your view of your earthly father has influenced your view of your heavenly Father?
- Read 1 John 4:16-19, Psalm 103:8
Question 5: How does these verses challenge your view of God the Father?
Question 6: God is not just a power. He is a person- a Father who loves His children. And just like any relationship with a person, you have to spend time with them to get to know them and grow in your relationship with them. What are some things you can begin to do this week that will help you grow in your relationship with God to help you see Him as a person and not just a power?
Prayer Focus: Ask God to help you see Him in a new and personal way. Ask Him to help you set aside any misconceptions about who He is and replace them with the truth that He is a personal, paternal, perfect, and preeminent Holy Father who loves you deeply.