Day 2: A Father’s Love
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. …”
Matthew 6:9-13 ESV
A father’s love can be fierce. I’ve seen it in my own father, in his love for my sister.
Sitting in the backseat of the car I watched as my dad pressed the accelerator to the floor. Aiming for the man in the car driving toward our house to take my sister away on her eighteenth birthday. Not just out… but away… out of our lives… My dad’s intent was murderous.
Father’s will kill in order to protect their children. However, they cannot always protect their children from themselves.
As a child, teen, young adult I would tell you my father was one stern man. He had rules, expectations and we were expected to follow them. My friends would tell you the same thing. Most of them would say, “Your dad is scary.” Funny thing is, even though he was stern, I always understood it as love. My Dad was stern, but he was also driven to provide for us, quick to forgive, and compassionate for those who needed a helping hand. He taught us to push ourselves beyond our fear and He was willing to protect us with His own life if necessary.
Jesus introduced us to God as our Father when He taught His disciples how to pray. He brought God’s love close: Father to beloved child.
Most every father looks upon their newborn for the first time and fills with love. A desire to be there for them, protect them, and provide the very best for them. This is my child. God did the same when He looked on all He created. He saw what came from Him, what was created in His image, and He loved.
The love of a father brings with it the sense of responsibility for the life they brought forth. The prayer Jesus taught us reveals many aspects of a loving father’s responsibility to his children.
Give us this day our daily bread. A father’s love provides for his children. Takes responsibility for their care. Makes sure they have all they need each day for whole healthy lives.
Forgive us. A father’s love longs for reconciliation when the relationship is torn by the child’s choice to sin or lash out in anger. Forgiving a debt means bearing the burden of loss without holding the other responsible for it any longer. Through their father’s loving forgiveness children learn about the joy of receiving grace.
As we forgive others. When fathers bear the burden of forgiving their children, they teach them to do the same. Expect them to do the same. Passing on the grace they’ve received. Loving fathers teach and encourage reconciliation. Peace-making.
Lead us not into temptation. Loving fathers teach their children the way of right and wrong. They do not lead them into temptation but help them recognize it and avoid the consequences of sin. The love of the father teaches wisdom to their children so they may know the blessings of life.
Deliver us from evil. A loving father protects their child from evil, not only by teaching them right and wrong, but through deliverance when they have fallen. A wise loving father knows when to rescue and when to wait. He knows what is best for his child, what will bring lasting freedom.
Discipline is an important aspect of a father’s love, when it comes to teaching their children to stand firm against temptation and protecting them from evil. But discipline is not only doling out punishment when needed. Athletes and students practice discipline in their lives through training and studying in the pursuit of excellence. Pushing themselves. A loving father not only executes just punishment but sets expectations to help his children learn to push themselves toward self-discipline — the way of maturity and growth.
Read Hebrews 12:5-7. What insights does this passage give about a father’s love and discipline?
Discipline is not always received or perceived by children as love. Yet a loving father will not neglect this aspect of his responsibility.
God loves all He created. Providing, bearing loss, disciplining, offering compassion and mercy every day. In the big picture sense, He is Father of all, because all have been created by Him. But through Jesus, we have the privilege of becoming His child. An heir to all that is His. Far more than just a creature He cares for. We become His, by His blood. This brings us into a deep intimate relationship with our loving Father where our spirits now cry out: Daddy! Daddy!
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” — Galatians 4:4-6 ESV
Abba is Hebrew for Daddy. He is our Father, our Daddy, to come to and ask anything of. His love for us is perfect. Just as it is for His Son, Jesus.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to receive His love as Father because our earthly fathers have not been perfect. We need not fear God or see Him as weak or negligent because our fathers failed us. Sisters, we have an opportunity to be loved perfectly by our Father in heaven who loves us more than we can imagine!
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
Ephesians 3:18 NLT
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
What comes to mind when you think of a father’s love?
Think about your own father and your relationship with him. In what ways did he display a father’s love well?
How did he fail?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to help you receive His love as the perfect Father. Ask Him to reveal the places in your heart where you do not trust Him because of your own father’s failures. Ask for healing of all the father-wounds inflicted on your little girl heart.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1 NIV
Exercise Your Faith
Name two qualities that you love (or loved) about your dad.
Your heavenly Father has these qualities too! Give thanks for experiencing these qualities in your life.
We ________________ because He first ________________ _________.