We all understand that God created everything. After He created us, He could have looked down upon us as just things that He created. Instead, because He loves us, He has chosen to call us His children. 1 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” Since we are Christians, God chose to adopt us. Ephesians 1:4-5 “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Galatians 3:26-27 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The relationship between us and God is similar to the relationship of an earthly father and his children. Let us look at some of the ways we should relate to our Father in heaven.
You have probably seen small children imitating their parents. Sometimes children want to dress like their parents, walk like their parents and even talk like their parents. It is natural for children to imitate their parents, because early in life they learn so much from them. In the same way, we should imitate our Father in Heaven. Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Since God is love, we should also walk in love. Luke 6:35-36 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Since God is kind and merciful, we should also be kind and merciful and imitate other attributes of God.
Children are taught to obey their parents. Their parents usually know what is best for their children and the dangers that the children need to avoid. In the same way, God knows what is best for us, so we must be obedient to our Father in heaven. 1 Peter 1:13-14 “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.” One time Jesus was told that His mother and brothers wanted to talk with Him. Matthew 12:49-50 “And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” Just as Jesus is the Son of God, we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus when we do the will of the Father in heaven.
Children often come to their earthly father to ask for his help and the resources they need. In the same way, we are taught to come to our Father in heaven for His help and His resources. Matthew 7:11-12 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” He already knows what we need, but He wants us to ask Him. Matthew 6:6-8 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
A good earthly father trains and disciplines his children to make them into the children he thinks they should be. In the same way, our Father in heaven disciplines us as we need it so that we become the people He wants us to be. Hebrews 12:5-11 “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Earthly fathers typically leave an inheritance to their children. In the same way, we are heirs of our Father in heaven. Romans 8:14-17 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
There are many ways that we can relate to God as our Father in heaven; I have listed only a few ways. What a wonderful relationship we can have with Him! 1 John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I encourage you to love your Father in heaven and be the child that He wants you to be.