Relating to God the Father
In our previous devotional we talked about the loving nature of God the Father. He loves. He, at least in part, is defined as love. Love is who He is and what He does. We know that sin is a barrier to our receiving His love, but, thankfully, through Jesus Christ and our acceptance of His work on the cross, God sees us as holy. He sees us as He sees His own Son. So, the sin barrier is broken down and we can approach Him with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). What happens when we discover this great love?
Receive: It is our job to receive it. But, how? First, we realize that we must have faith that He exists and really does love us “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). God’s love does not depend on our goodness, only on His character. He loves us. We just have to get in position to receive it – by faith and by seeking. Sit with Him, read His word, begin to discern His voice, and, over time, we begin to believe it in the core of our being when He says He loves us.
Respond: Once we learn to receive His love, we will respond to it. We do that by resting in it, relishing the warm feeling of being completely loved and totally accepted. We will not be able to resist the desire to love Him back and wanting, more than anything, to please Him in all we are and do. So, when you are ready, tell Him you love Him and then, little by little, you will begin to live like His beloved child. As you do, you will find new confidence, stillness, peace, and joy. You’ll smile more.
Reflect: All that smiling and calmness is going to change the way we relate to people. We will be more approachable. We will care more. We will be less self-conscious. We will find ourselves going out of our way to help someone in need or to share the Gospel with them. Why? Because God’s love, lavished on us, will spill out on others within our reach. We won’t be able to help it!
God starts it all by loving us. We simply respond in earnestness and faith and, when we do, we will be changed and will begin to reflect His great love to those around us. That is so much better than ritual prayers or futile attempts to keep the Law or to work our way toward perfection. With the God of the Bible, it begins and ends with love.
“Eye the Father as love; look not on him as an always lowering father, but as one most kind and tender.” – John Owen (1)
(1) John Owen, Communion with God (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications), p. 6