“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. “ (Matthew 6:9, NKJV)
He was the coolest dad in the neighborhood where we grew up. When we wanted to play whiffle ball … he converted his backyard into a miniature ball field complete with a backstop, foul poles, and lights! We even had limed baselines with real bases!
Yes, you read that right. And that field became the envy of an entire neighborhood. Our street had its own team, just as other streets had theirs and we could play games until 10 pm and then it was lights out!
The roof of his house served as the homerun fence in left field, the neighbor’s fence between the two houses, and the two back yards served as the center field and right field.
But as good as he was at this … we would learn he was not as good in other ways of life. You see … he was far from perfect! Just like the rest of us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV).
The wonderfully true and encouraging word of good news is that there is in fact a perfect Father, the God of Heaven … our Heavenly Father … and He is perfect in every way!
The expression “our Father in heaven” which is found some twenty times within the pages of Matthew’s Gospel describes God in this way.
So how does this expression relate to each of us? Good question. The answer lies in the fact that Jesus in what has come to be called The Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 5-7) emphasizes the type of close and personal relationship that God desires with those who choose to be His people by accepting His grace and mercy and in faith complying with His divine will!
We become “children of God” and as a result of that decision on our part, we begin to see a likeness of the Father in our own lives in ways that are obvious … “loving our enemies” (Matthew 5:44-45) is just one example!
The privilege of calling Him “Our Father in Heaven” is one that is offered to anyone and to everyone who will heed the gospel call, surrender their will to His will and follow Him wherever He chooses to lead. (See Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:27)
Perhaps one of the single, most familiar passages of Scripture describing the qualities and traits of our perfect Father is that of John 3:16 which reads “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)
And what does this passage teach us:
- That the Father loves His children.
- That He provides for His children.
- That He actually has expectations of His children.
- And finally, that He has purposely provided a future place of eternity with Him in Heaven if only we will follow His will!
And because He is the perfect Father, consider for just a moment other benefits that are to be found:
- Our Heavenly Father is always with us every step of our journey.
- Our Heavenly Father is looking out for our soul’s best interest when He says for us not to do or participate in the things of the world that are wrong… and to do all that He says for us to do. He knows the consequence of poor choices!
- Our Heavenly Father will help pick us up when we stumble, fall, grow weary in well-doing, and will help us to stand and walk upright again!
- And our Heavenly Fathers longs for us to come and talk with Him in prayer … and to open His Book to find the wisdom and counsel to travel on the right path!
The list of all the blessings and privileges of being in the family of God are actually innumerable and they are of far greater value than anything this world has to offer us!
I do honestly believe that we find in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) an in-depth depiction of just how deep the Heavenly Father’s love is for those who are His.
So, however, you have viewed the Creator of this universe in the past, if you have doubted Him or even His existence, if you have questioned His love and care, His Book … “the inspired, God-breathed Book” (2 Timothy 3:16,17) says He is the perfect Father in every way.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God …” (1 John 3:1a, NKJV)
The neighbor who loved his kids and us neighborhood kids and did so much to brighten our lives could only do so much. He was just a man!
But God … well, the Apostle Paul speaks of His unlimited abilities this way, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NKJV)
The question each of us must answer is this: Are we willing to let Him be our perfect Father and enjoy the loving Father/child relationship He offers? You make the call …
Bill Fairchild, Jr