A few weeks ago, a friend told me a funny story I thought you might like.
God said, it’s not good for man to be alone. So God brought various animals to Adam to see what he would call them and see if any would be a good companion for man, but none were a good match. So God made a companion for man.Now, you know God created a woman from Adam’s rib to be his perfect companion. But here’s a funny joke about God’s trial run.
Regardless of how
selfish and childish and unlovable you may be, this companion will always accept you just as you are and will love you as I do, no matter what.” And God built the animal and it came up to Adam wagging it’s tale and licking his face. And Adam said, “Since you are a reflection of God’s love, I will name you ‘DOG’!”
Everything was going well,
until a Satan complained to God. “Dog loves Adam so much he will become
puffed up with pride. Dog thinks Adam can
do no wrong! Adam needs to learn
So God created Cat to be Adam’s companion along with Dog. And Cat would not obey Adam. And when Adam gazed into Cat’s slitted eyes, he knew man is not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility. And God was pleased. And Adam was pleased. And Dog wagged it's tale. And Cat didn’t care one way or the other.
This summer, we are studying the names of God from the Bible to learn what God is really like. God is infinite, and His character is vast. I challenge you to expand your thinking about God and consider the many beautiful facets of His character. Most of all, I want you to follow God as the fulfillment of your life’s true purpose.
So far, we have learned that God is Elohim—that He is many and one, both plural and singular. This is something beyond human language and logic. Thus is the mysterious character of God.
We also learned God is El-Shaddai—that He is Almighty and All-Sufficient; He’s all you need.
Today, for Father’s Day, we consider the name Jesus used for God; a name we can use too—Abba, Father.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
According to Dr. Deborah MacNamara: “Cross cultural research on baby’s first words shows that the clear winner is Dada. Tardif and colleagues found in over 900 babies, age 8 to 16 months from English, Cantonese, and Mandarin speaking homes, Dada was the most common first person identified. Mama is not far behind…”[i] This is surprising because most linguists agree Dada is harder for babies to say than Mama. MacNamara goes on, “When mothers are the primary attachment, babies are still quite fused to them well into their first year of life. The first separation they see from themself is to their father. Dada is usually the first person they identify outside of the mother and baby bond.”
Abba is the Aramaic word for Father. Actually, Father may not be the best translation. Abba is an easy word for babies to pronounce. Babies don’t say “Father”. They say, “Dada” or “Papa” or (in Aramaic) “Abba”.
So in this Scripture, we see that Christians have the right to go before the Infinite, Immortal, Holy, Lord of the Universe, and call Him Abba (or Dada). That’s an incredible revelation if you think about it. So many people feel dread in God’s presence or like they have to talk to God with very religious language. I am always perplexed when I hear someone pray to God using King James type language: “Oh Lord God, we bow before Thee and ask for Thine help!” Who talks like that? Why would Christians talk to God like that? Especially when we understand He is our spiritual Dada!
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Yes, God is holy and infinite and immortal. But He is also a loving Father, a perfect Father, who shelters and protects and welcomes his little children into His arms. If you trust Christ and believe His teaching, come to God like He is your perfect Father, because He is.
Did you have a good father? If you did, you know something of God’s character. No matter how wonderful you father is, he is only an imperfect reflection of the God Christians call Abba. Not everyone had a great father. If you had problems with your Dad, I want you to know, Abba Father is the perfect Dad. He will never let His children down. Everything you wish you father was for you, God is and more.
Now I need to make something clear. Not everyone is a child of God. This is something that confuses many people. It is quite popular these days to say, “We are all God’s children.” Now that may be true in a general sense because we are all created by God. And it is true in the sense that no race or nation is more important to God than any other. We’re all equal before God in this respect. But Romans 8:15 says, “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Why would God need to adopt us if we are already His children? God needs to adopt us because sin has separated us from God.
Sin is not just a minor separation. Sin is an absolute separation. It’s not that God left us. No. We left God through Sin. And the separation caused by our sin completely severs our relationship with the Abba Father. God is not a Father to those who do not follow Christ.
The Pharisees were surprised to hear this truth from Jesus in the 8th chapter of John. As biological descendants of Abraham, the Pharisees believed God was their father through Abraham. Jesus set them straight. He said their evil actions showed they were not God’s children; the devil was their father. Being part of the family in the Kingdom of God is not biological. It’s about faith and choice and action. It's a choice we make to repent and follow Jesus as Lord. It's a choice God makes to adopt us and save us for eternal life.
Sin separates us from God. But the Good News is, Jesus we can be adopted into the family of God. God wants to be your perfect Abba Father. He wants to love you and nurture you and protect you and bless you, and give you eternal life, but you have to choose Him. You have to turn to Him through Jesus Christ.
Now, if you are not a child of God—adopted into God’s family because you turned away from your sins and put your faith in Jesus death for you on the cross—the conviction you feel before God is justified. It’s no wonder you dread His presence. You feel guilty in God’s presence because you are guilty. But when you pray, “God, please forgive my sins!” and you invite Jesus to be the Lord of your life, then you are no longer a fearful slave. You are adopted as a child of God. You can call God “Abba Father!” just like Jesus does. In fact, Jesus is your brother!
5 God sent [Jesus] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
This tells us that Jesus own spirit comes to live inside a Christian’s heart when they become a Christian by believing in Jesus. So when God looks at a Christian, He doesn’t see a sinner. He doesn’t see someone who has hurt Him or rebelled against Him. He doesn’t see in a Christian anything that would upset or disappoint Him. If you are a Christian, God sees Jesus in you and God calls you His child and you can call Him “Daddy”. Isn’t that amazing!
And so today Jesus pleads with everyone listening. If you want God to be your Abba Father, you have to make a choice. Why don’t you make that choice today?
Here's a prayer you can pray that can help you make that choice today.
Abba Father, I'm sorry I've been living my life my own way. I repent of all that today. Please forgive me. I want to follow Jesus as my Lord from this day forward. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and show me how. Surround me with Christians who can help me and hold me accountable. Cleanse me and and heal me so I can become more and more like Jesus. For it is in His name that I pray. Amen.