A recent article from Focus on the Family reminded me of an important truth. A person's earthly father colors their perception of the Heavenly Father. This gives me two important things to consider, both as a father and as a son.
As a son, I need to see how my opinion of my earthly father affects my thoughts about my Heavenly Father. It is so difficult to break free from human perceptions. God is spirit, so we cannot see Him with our human eyes. We can feel Him, we can see His work, but we cannot actually see Him. At least not on this side of Heaven.
The clues about who God is are written into the fabric of the Universe. But these are only clues. They do not (and cannot) tell us everything about God. These are hints, provided on the level that we can understand.
God was gracious to provide the perfect man to be my father. Obviously, he is not perfect in every way. But he is perfect for me. While I cannot find a single thing about my Dad to complain about, I have to realize that God is way more than simply a magnification of my father. If I see God simply through the view of what my earthly father is, then I will miss out on important aspects of His character. Even worse, I might take my Dad's flaws and ascribe them to God.
I have to be diligent to take the clues about God's character that I see in my Dad, and stack them up against Scripture. Hold them in the light of my own experience, and the relationship that I am building with God.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.As a father, I need to be keenly aware that I am perhaps the biggest clue my kids will have to God's nature. I have to be diligent to be the best example of God that I can be. This is a responsibility that is way more than I could handle on my own. Thankfully, God's power is made perfect in our weakness.
-- Galatians 4:6-7
I would love to go on about this, but this post is already getting too long. The insanely important depths of fatherhood will have to wait for another post.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
-- Ephesians 6:4