Through Christ’s death we have been forgiven, redeemed, and justified. But that’s not all. We have also been adopted into God’s family. Paul says in Ephesians 1 verse 5: “In love, God the Father predestined us (chose us) for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Jesus’ death has put us right with God in terms of our sin but it also made us part of the family – we are able to receive God’s love and joy.
It Starts with Love
We can sometimes feel that God is a reluctant Father. That Jesus is always working to win God over for us. We might think of him as displeased or suspicious of us. God may be gracious towards us, but he doesn’t take delight in it, he tolerates us. All of these things are not true. God chose us for adoption, He always has love for us.
The Bible shows that God the Father relates to us in Christ. We are in his Son and so the Father loves us with the same love that he has for Jesus. God has always been a Father (God, Son, and Spirit have always been One) and eternally loves the Son, and therefore us.
Our adoption was the Father’s pleasure. If you are in Christ, then you always bring pleasure to the Father. He sees you and smiles with delight. We can call him ‘our Father.’ In Zephaniah 3 v 17 it evens says that God rejoices over us with singing. So as we read the Bible we can look out for the Father’s song, signs of his love. Rejoice and welcome that love.
The greatest unkindness that we can show God the Father is to not believe that he loves us. The whole work of Christ was to allow our adoption as sons and daughters of the Father. If we believe in his love then we have communion with Him.
A Fathered World
What does this mean day to day? Ultimately that all the good things that we enjoy, these are all signs of the Father’s care for us. One way we can enjoy the Father is to see these things as gifts.
In Luke 12 v 22 – 31, Jesus tells us not to worry but to “consider” the world around us. By considering the world we will see the Father’s intimate involvement. Everything is an act of God. Sometimes God acts directly (a miracle) and sometimes he acts indirectly through intermediate causes (natural causes). But everywhere the Father is at work.
By thinking like this, we open up the World and we will see divine generosity everywhere we look. The beauty of bird sound, the coming of Spring. Jesus invites us to see the intimate involvement of God – to see a fathered world.
The lie of the serpent in the Garden of Eden is an uncaring Father. Satan didn’t dispute the existence of God, he suggested that God does not care. All the evidence was to the contrary. God had provided a place of security and plenty, of complete provision. Yet humanity believed the lie, and we still do. Jesus stated that our problem is a lack of faith, we don’t believe that God cares. We think of him as distant. We see this world as unfathered. We often see the threats of this World as the reality and God as a dream world. When actually the opposite is true, many of the threats we face are a dream of “what ifs” and “maybes” creating all sorts of frightening possibilities. Other problems can be real but they are not the whole truth. We need to open our eyes of faith and see the smile of our heavenly Father.
We Respond by Receiving our Blessings as his Gift
This world is a magical place full of wonder. Every leaf is unique, every snowflake is different, every person is distinctive. God has crafted this world for his pleasure and delight. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 5 children receive the 5 Golden tickets. Well we have all received a Golden Ticket to God’s amazing world, there’s never a reason to be bored:
- A world where the one thing we need to survive, water, falls from the sky
- A world with magnetic poles so compasses point North
- A world in which a string sounds a note and then when you half the string’s length, it sounds the same note a perfect octave higher – what are the chances
- A world in which you can skim stones across water – its magical
- A world of puns and rhymes and rhythm and alliteration
- A world in which music can make you cry
Gratitude leads us closer to God
Giving thanks is a powerful act. We too often focus on what we lack and fell discontented. Gratitude redirects our thoughts towards the amazing blessings that are always ours. Sunshine, birdsong, and friendship. The key that unlocks the treasury of joy is gratitude.
Gratitude also lifts our eyes from the gift to the Giver. Gratitude will bring us closer to God.
- Last week we ended with a challenge to start a conversation with your heavenly Father in which you talk to him about whatever is on your mind. How have you got on?
- How does knowing Jesus change the way we think about God the Father?
- What difference does seeing the world as a fathered world make to our worries? To our pleasures?
- How would your attitude change if you thought of yourself as a winner of a golden ticket giving you access to a world full of wonder?
- Think of one thing in the world that fills you with wonder
- What five things over the past week can you give thanks for? Imagine being handed these things as gifts from God
Each day this week pick something that makes you happy and pray: “My Father, thank you for … because it’s a lovely gift from you” Let’s cultivate the habit of celebrating God’s provision for us.