We must accept ourselves, broken and imperfect, loved and accepted through Christ.
“Whoever does not accept himself is engrossed with himself… the failure to accept self is the crisis of the unaffirmed.” – Leanne Payne, founder of PCM.
When in Old City Jerusalem in 2015, I heard the sounds of little children calling out a familiar word. “Abba!” I wish I could type it out the way I heard it because it was so very different than how I had pronounced it. There was a sweetness, a dependency, a lilt, an emphasis on the 2nd syllable that clearly communicated dependency and expectancy. It made an impression. It brought to mind the scripture from Romans.
Romans 8:15- The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba. Father.”
There are many Christians, many people who will stay distant from God because they have arguments in their mind about God being a good father. I have prayed for many men and women who come to tears almost instantly when I inquire how well they know God as Father. Unhealed wounds are still very alive, the scab easily picked and bleeding again.
God designed a father to play a vital role in affirming son or daughter, calling them up and out of a mother’s care, to mature into healthy adulthood. One of the critical seasons a father plays a vital role is during puberty. Prominent Christian psychologists like Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Larry Crabb have noted often in their teachings that a father plays a critical role to affirm with words and their presence. Loving and safe fathers help their child establish a healthy foundation as they enter formative adult years.
Affirmation and presence. This is available in a healthy prayer relationship with God.
There is a Father available to all who is the Master of Affirmation. Jesus knew this as a child.
When we consider that we have one account of Jesus in childhood, it is at the age of 12. For Hebrew children this was their coming of age season when they were now considered accountable to God for their actions. For girls it is age 12, for boys it is age 13.
Jesus, at the age of 12, is documented as staying behind after the Passover Festival in Jerusalem. His parents spent 3 days searching for Jesus because they didn’t know where he had disappeared to. They found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. When they asked him why he did that to them, he said’; “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” – Luke 2:49
At the critical age of forming identity, at the age of coming into adulthood, Jesus knew that who he needed the most was His Father in Heaven. If it is true for Jesus, it is true for those of us who have been adopted as sons and daughters by God in Heaven!
If we look later on in Jesus’ life, we find an account of God the Father affirming his Son in the presence of others.
Matthew 7:15- “While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Here is evidence that a good father affirms their child by letting them know they are loved and accepted. If Jesus needed to hear and know it, you and I need the same.
Maybe this is a journey of discovery for you that will take some time; but as part of a prayer time for the Father’s Day weekend, ponder and assess how you view the Heavenly Father. God the Father calls us out from an identity of flesh, recreating our identity by Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh; but spirit gives birth to spirit, John 3:6. Through Christ we are “born from above”, eternally adopted by Him. By his Spirit in our hearts we then cry out, “Abba, Father.” No longer a slave, no longer afraid of feeling condemned in the presence of our Father, but a child loved and accepted. God’s child and heir of the Kingdom, Galatians 4:6-7.
How much we need to be known, loved, and accepted despite our deepest darkness! God loves us anyways through the gracious forgiveness given in Christ. But we must come to Him to receive that love and know that forgiveness.
Take time to really consider what you need to hear from the Father. If Christ were sitting in front of you, what would you tell him you need to hear from your father? From your Heavenly Father? Wherever tears may start to form or feelings of anger rise up, these are hints you’re thinking about an area in deep need of healing by the Heavenly Father. Ask Jesus to give you eyes to see and know him, because whoever sees or knows Jesus also sees and knows the Father, John 14:7. Ask Jesus to heal and lead you on the journey to wholeness. Ask him to give you ears to hear the whispers of the Father’s love by the Holy Spirit.
To help you begin, consider using the form below. I handed this out in “The Father’s Love” meditation held last year in a group setting. Participants found it helpful in assessing specific areas as well as pinpointing one aspect of the Father’s love to focus in scripture study going forward. May you, at a minimum, be vulnerable and willing to whisper, “Abba” in prayer. If that is the only word you utter, in a prayer time with God, it is a very good Word. He loves you!
Matthew 19:14- Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
The content is original to the author, Gina Williamson. Used with permission.