Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9). For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ... (Rom. 8:15-17a).
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:31-32).
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Fathers aren’t in a good state these days. As I write this, the number of fatherless families is on the rise. Children born in this generation in the United States are less likely to have a father in their lives than any generation that has come before. Because of this epidemic of fatherlessness, it becomes difficult for us to understand God as Father. And yet, it’s this very same epidemic which makes it so important that we do.
God is eternally existent as one God in three distinct persons—Fathers, Son, and Holy Spirit. When the Son, Jesus Christ, reconciles us to God through faith in the gospel, then God becomes our Father. And actually, the news is even more dramatic than that. Romans tells us that when we believe the gospel, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, causing us to call God “Abba,” a word which roughly translates in English as “daddy.” Think on that. Have you ever considered the absolutely crazy reality that, in Christ, God isn’t some stern father. He’s daddy.
I write this at the risk of alienating many of you, because many of you won’t have a good memory of daddy. But I’m asking you to stretch your conceptual box. If you do, then abundant blessings will flow. Why? Because understanding that God is Father brings with it an unshakable security. In Matthew, we’re taught to call on God as Father. In our prayers, Christians are not to say magic words to appease some far-off deity. Our prayers are the heartfelt communion between children and Father—a good and loving Father at that.
What worries plague you? What do you fear? Are you afraid of a lack of money? Worried that your spouse may never appear? Later in the same teaching, Jesus encourages you; don’t worry about such things. Why? Because you’ve got a good Father, and good fathers provide for their kids. Thus he says, “do not be anxious, that’s what unbelievers do. You know God the Father, and he already knows what you need before you know to ask.” Wow. What a good dad. Have you brought your fears and concerns to him, and left them with him? Trust me when I say, he knows what to do with them better than you do.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we gain God as our Father. And it’s in his family name that we’re meant to live. At the end of Matthew, Jesus tells us to go make disciples in the name of the holy family—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What a privilege you and I have today, to take the family business to new and uncharted places. What a joy to go on adoption missions, introducing our city, our family, and our world to God, the Father.