This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff.
ENCOUNTER: Read Romans 8:14-17
v. 15 “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
As tragic as the stories can be in our broken world, there still exists in each of our hearts a beautiful longing for an intimate relationship with our fathers. Those who were lucky enough to have a great dad celebrate that God positions himself as our loving heavenly father. They easily can picture God doting over them, spoiling them with his love, showering them with affirmation, expressing his affection, and quickly forgiving even willful disobedience. Others of us have to do some mental gymnastics to apply these characteristics to our view of God since we haven’t seen that picture of relationship lived out with our earthly fathers. In either case, the scriptures reveal Jesus and the apostle’s teaching that our internal longing for a loving father is fulfilled in our relationship with God through his spirit living in us. The text from Romans is clear: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God... adopted... And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Can you spend some time meditating on this truth today? Can you picture him as a perfect father engaging in relationship with you? As you call him “Abba,” or “Dad,” what cries come out of your heart about your life, your fears, your dreams, your needs, your love for him?
What characteristics of your heavenly father and the way he apparently wants to relate to you do you resonate with most today? Why do you think that means so much to you at this time in your life?
What is hardest for you to believe about God’s father-heart for you? Why do you think that is? If God were sitting with you right now, can you imagine what he might say to you about the things that you find hard to believe? Let him minister to you right now by engaging with him in that conversation.
What is one spiritual discipline or exercise that you could practice that would help you more deeply believe and experience God’s fathering of you?
BE A BLESSING:
Think through you encounters you had with all the various people along your journey today or yesterday... The strangers, the co-workers, your friends, your kids, your spouse, etc. As you reflect on those people and interactions, ask God for insight about how one or more of them need some “fathering” from God. Then ask for wisdom about how you might model God’s love to them as a way of introducing them to the God who loves them and invites them into his family. Can you commit to one act of affirmation, appreciation, affection, or even forgiveness in the name of the Father who loves us all?
We need to see one another living out our relationships with God so that we have tangible examples of his love at work, multiplied over and over again in various life stories. It builds our faith, it draws us to the Father’s heart, and it gives us hope that our dreams of experiencing the love of a heavenly dad are possible. Whose story have you heard this week? With whom have you shared your story? Encourage one another with anecdotes of God’s lavish love for you!
As you meditate on and share the truths of God’s perfect fatherhood, then I’m sure you’ll experience more and more what is promised in verse 16: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” In addition you will know more deeply what is promised in verse 17, that because we are his children we have inherited all of his riches, including the richness of his very presence with us. Oh, what a joy and privilege we have to be daughters and sons of God...
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." – Psalm 73:25,26