We have a choice of three fathers – which will we follow?
No matter how long we expect to live, the truth is we will have the same life span – that is eternal. We tend to look at our lives as the number of years we have in our physical bodies on earth when in reality, our souls live on and on forever. We also have the same choice of three fathers. Where we will spend our eternities will be determined by which father we choose to follow; our earthly father, our Heavenly Father, or the father of lies, Satan.
God is the one true Father for every human being. He carefully determined our DNA (Psalm 139:13) and determined the length of our lives (Job 14:5) even before we were born. Without Him, we would not last a day. He sustains our every breath.
Ephesians 4:6 ESV one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Malachi 2:10 ESV Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? …
Job 12:10 NLT For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.
Our Only True and Perfect Father
Our Heavenly Father is the Highest Supreme Being who is above everything. Yet He watches over each one of us with fatherly affection and concern.
- Father God is tender and compassionate towards us | Psalm 103:13 ESV As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
- He never forgets us | Isaiah 49:15 ESV “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
- He is constantly with us | Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
- He cares for us | 1 Peter 5:7 ESV Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
- He protects the vulnerable | Psalm 68:5 ESV Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
- He comforts us when we need consoling | 2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
- He disciplines us to prevent us from straying into destructive ways | Hebrews 12:9 ESV Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
- He helps us | Hebrews 13:6 ESV So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
- He gives us good gifts | James 1:17 ESV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
- He never stops in His work in us and for us | John 5:17 ESV But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
Intellectually, many people may agree that God, the Father, is good, but not everyone can honestly say that they are convicted of this truth in their hearts. This is because our beliefs about Father God are often corrupted by our experiences with two other types of fathers, our earthly fathers and the father of lies, Satan.
Seeing and talking with Father God
The Bible reminds us numerous times that we can all have access to our Heavenly Father if we are willing to humble and purify ourselves as we draw near to Him. The pure in heart will see Father God.
Matthew 5:8 ESV “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
James 4:8-10 NLT Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
Here are some testimonies of people who have seen and conversed with their Heavenly Father:
- Jesus moves businessman away from self-righteousness.
- Jesus sets long-time Christian free from occult curses.
- Jesus frees lecturer from feeling abandoned.
- Jesus restores architect’s childlike faith.
- Jesus frees manager from blood pact with death.
- Jesus shows lawyer her true value.
Anyone of us can see Father God through visions and converse with Him as a child would with his or her father. This, however, requires us to be renewed through the power of the Holy Spirit and Father God’s True Word.
John 4:23 ESV But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
- Accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour | John 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who gives us access to the Father | Ephesians 2:18 ESV For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
- Let the Holy Spirit change the motivations and desires of our hearts | Galatians 4:6 ESV And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
- Keep our hearts pure at all times | 1 John 3:2-3 ESV Beloved, we are God’s children now… And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
- Approach the Father with innocent childlike faith | Luke 18:17 ESV Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Our earthly father: our dads
The Bible makes a distinction in our relationship with our birth-parents and with our Father God. We are to honour our parents, but to love Father God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Our parents are earthly guardians set in place by our eternal Father. They are meant to teach us how to love Father God first. This is the first and most fundamental commandment. Some birth-fathers do this very well but many don’t.
Ephesians 6:2 ESV “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
Matthew 22:37 NIV Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
Galatians 4:2 ESV but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Matthew 22:37-38 ESV And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
A problem, therefore, arises as we find that we:
- Love our parents more than we love Father God, thereby making them our idols | Matthew 10:37 ESV Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
- Despise our parents, thereby rejecting the father and mother God had chosen for us | Matthew 15:4 ESV For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
Our birth-fathers are worthy of honour, but our first allegiance is to our Heavenly Father. Only our relationship with Father God is guaranteed to be eternal. When we idolise our parents, Father God’s position in our hearts gets hijacked by human beings. We long for their approval and want to please them. If our birth-fathers object to us following Jesus wholeheartedly, we may even decide to turn away from God, our Father. In His magnanimous grace, Father God will not stop us from choosing another human to be the master of our hearts. He is not the One who will deny us. We make that decision for Him by our choices.
Luke 14:26 NLT “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
Matthew 10:32-33 ESV So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
When we judge, grudge, despise, slander, or hate our parents, on the other hand, we also turn away from Father God. As children, we may have looked to our parents for the perfect love that only our Heavenly Father could provide and therefore became bitterly disappointed. We begin to question, “Why was I born?” “Why did Father God make me this way?” “Why these parents?” “Father God must have made a mistake,” or “Father God cannot be truly good or trustworthy.” We subconsciously judge and blaspheme Father God in our hearts.
Ephesians 6:4 NIV Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Isaiah 45:10-11 NLT How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’” This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
Sometimes, we begin to see God the Father through the same lens that we judge or despise our earthly dads with. If our birth-parents were absent, abusive, or arrogant, we could have naively projected such qualities onto God the Father too. Many people unknowingly re-model Father God’s image according to our earthly fathers’ and never depart from those blasphemous images.
Jesus taught His disciples not to call anyone on earth “father”. There are no marriages and family hierarchies in heaven or hell. Our great grandfather, grandfathers, and fathers are all our equals in God’s Kingdom. The Bible says we all have only one Father who reigns in heaven and on earth. Let us, therefore, repent of the idolatry or judgments in our hearts and turn wholeheartedly to our true Father, God Himself.
Matthew 23:9 ESV And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
Matthew 22:30 ESV For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
The father of lies: Satan
Quite disconcerting, Jesus’ disciples can be deceived into following another father and that is Satan, who is called the father of lies. It even happened to the apostles who spent time with Jesus day in, day out. Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3) was completely taken over by Satan and the apostle Peter was nearly persuaded by Satan to stop Jesus from going to the cross (Matthew 16:23). Later, it also happened to the believers in the early church (Acts 5:3, 1 Timothy 5:15) … and it continues to happen today.
1 Timothy 5:15 ESV For some have already strayed after Satan.
John 8:44 ESV You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan is doomed. He is destined for eternal torment. No one would willingly follow the father of lies if they had the eyes to see and the ears to hear the truth.
Revelation 20:10 ESV And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Acts 28:27 ESV For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
The father of lies has no hold over believers who submit themselves to Father God 100% (James 4:7). In fact, the devil will flee from any child of God that does. Satan can only beguilingly become someone’s “father” if they stubbornly reject their Heavenly Father’s call to return to Him and keep on sinning instead. This often happens because of fear, guilt, self-condemnation, hopelessness, or unbelief – all of which are built on lies. Sadly, their hearts can become so hardened against their Father over time that they alienate themselves from Him altogether. Again, Father God is not the One who will deny us. We make that decision for Him by our choices.
James 4:7 ESV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 John 3:8,10 ESV Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil…By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Ephesians 4:18-19 ESV They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Any one of us can become easy targets for Satan’s deceptions when we don’t personally study our Father’s Word for ourselves. This is because:
- Like a stalking lion, Satan waits patiently for opportunities until we are vulnerable before he attacks | 1 Peter 5:8 ESV Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- Using lies and false hopes, he seduces us away from pure devotion to our Father | 2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
- He turns our focus to fixate on earthly matters, rather than our Father’s will | Matthew 16:23 ESV But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
- He also entices us with things that look wise but are demonic | James 3:14-15 ESV But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
- He also tempts us to doubt our Father | Genesis 3:1 ESV Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
- When we don’t make it a point to understand what the Bible teaches us, he will steal Father God’s words from our hearts | Matthew 13:19 ESV When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
- His purpose is to destroy everything good that our perfect Father has intended for us | John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Our Father does not condemn us for making mistakes and falling for Satan’s lies. He is the Father of all grace and truth. Father God will forgive, correct, guide and counsel us when we invite Him to. In fact, Jesus Christ, who died for the “sons of disobedience,” proclaimed that He would forgive us uncountable times when He gave us the instruction to forgive “seventy-seven times” – whenever we turn our hearts back to our Heavenly Father and repent.
John 1:14 ESV ESV … we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Acts 26:18 ESV To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Father God will warmly welcome any son or daughter – even if we return to Him hanging our head in shame, smelling of pigsty, and rejected by people. He will run out to greet us and proclaim, “Come, let us change your clothes and restore you to a place of honour. Then we will celebrate with a big feast, for you were (spiritually) dead and have now returned to your rightful Father. Welcome home!” All we will feel is our Heavenly Father’s love and compassion, embrace and kiss. Father God will always be faithful in His promises to forgive us and restore us to a full Father-child relationship with Him when we repent.
Matthew 18:21-22 ESV Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
2 Timothy 2:11-13,15 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved…
Only Father God is worthy of our full devotion and love. He has already sacrificed His one and only Son in exchange for us while we were still deep in sin and held captive by lies. What greater proof of His undying love can there be?
John 3:16 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 15:13 ESV Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
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