No one has a perfect human father. Some people grow up without any consistent fathering at all. Yet everyone knows what a good dad should be like. When the Bible calls God a Father, it means we can have a perfect One. One who…
- stays involved in his children’s lives, without expecting more than they can do. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14 HCSB).
- encourages and facilitates his children to reach their full potential. “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5 NASB).
- comforts his children when they hurt. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).
- forgives his children when they mess up. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).
- provides for his children’s needs. “What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 HCSB).
- protects and defends his children. “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” (Psalm 5:11 NKJV).
- trains his children and disciplines when necessary. “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. (For what son is there that a father does not discipline?)... He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:7-11 HCSB).
- listens to his children and helps them. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).
- keeps his promises. “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him. Therefore, the ‘Amen’ is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB).
- rejoices over his children. “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV).
- loves without a catch. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV).
- and would give his life to save yours. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV).
That’s the kind of perfect father everyone wants. No human dad can meet those standards, but anyone who wants God to be his or her Father, can receive it by believing what God said in John 1:12 about Jesus: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Jesus compared this reality to being “born again” and receiving spiritual life (see John 3.)
And for human fathers who want to do a better job of parenting, ask Father God to help you become more like Him in following the 12 principles above.
The National Center for Fathering is a nonprofit that seeks to encourage and equip fathers and father figures. They have excellent resources here.
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