Last Monday, I took a very revealing blog survey regarding the qualities of great fathers. I found the responses to be quite beautiful and revealing. I’d like to take a few minutes in this post to summarize the responses that came in, and what I believe these responses point to.
Our Dream Daddy
The responses from Monday’s survey about the qualities of great fathers carried these themes:
- Great dads are unfailing & unconditional with their love.
(A father with this kind of love cannot be provoked to withdraw from or abandon their children. He will remain forever loyal to them. A father who loves with no strings attached.)
- Great dads are obsessed with Christ & His bride.
(A father with this kind of an obsession is consumed with encouraging & cultivating the relationship that exists between Christ & His bride.)
- Great dads are transparent.
(A father who is not pretentious or fake. A father is willing to bear his heart to his children. A father who can be seen & known. A father who loves to share his own heart, hobbies, and plans with his children.)
- Great dads are honest.
(A father who will tell his children the truth. This truth always reinforces who his children are, not who they are not. A father who instills true identity in his children that leads to their freedom.)
- Great dads are strong & able to rescue.
(A father who is able to overcome *ANY* obstacle to rescue his children.)
- Great dads are listeners.
(A father who is so interested in us that he actively listens to each word & cry that comes forth from us.)
- Great dads are conversationalists.
(A father who likes to engage in long & deep conversations with his children about any subject they are passionate about. A father who is not silent.)
- Great dads are approachable with a sense of humor.
(A father who immediately puts his children at ease when approached, no matter what the children are going through. A father who loves to make his children laugh.)
- Great dads are accessible.
(A father who can always be found in the most remote places at the most ‘inopportune’ times whenever we need to ‘vent’ or when we need advice.)
- Great dads are sentimental.
(A father who leaves us little clues indicating how much we are valued. A father who remembers our birthday, who leaves us cards & personalized gifts that only we could understand and value, and who even knows the color of our birthstone.)
- Great dads are inclusive.
(A father who does not play favorites with his children. A father who sees each child as his ‘favorite’.)
- Great dads are just.
(A father who will relentlessly expose, oppose, and destroy all the obstacles that oppose his children.)
- Great dads are match-makers.
(A father who will not rest until his children marry the ‘perfect’ spouse. A father who will search for this spouse, and move ‘heaven & earth’ to bring them together.)
I could go on and on, but I think we are getting a picture of what a great father is. As a dad, I can tell you that I’d love to be this kind of a dad for my own child. I know that she was created for this kind of a father. I have always known that. I am also aware that I am not that father.
At best, we are only pictures of a great father. That’s ok, because there is truly only one great Father. He is so sufficient that He needs no ‘duplicate’. Consider the words of Jesus:
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9, NASB)
We are simply ‘shadow’ fathers. Even as shadow fathers who cannot adequately provide for the needs of our children, we still know the good gifts that our children need. Even in our imperfect flesh, we know and desire good things for our children. Although we are imperfect fathers, we would not knowingly give bad things to our children. If this is true of us, how much more true is this of our heavenly Father? This is exactly the question that Jesus asked of us:
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much *MORE* will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? (Luke 11:13, NASB, emphasis mine)
Why do you think Jesus asked this question using the all important word *more*?
I am convinced it is because of the religious poison that they had been fed about God. I know this because I have also been fed the same religious poison in the evangelical religious system. Most of what is communicated in the religious system is laced with a subtle lie that envisions God as a father who is *less than* what we ourselves can envision a good father being. Let me give you an example.
I recently heard a famous evangelical preacher say something about God that left me scratching my head. In a conversation about a particular theological debate currently going on in some evangelical circles, this famous evangelical preacher said something that was quite revealing of the religious poison that we have all been fed. This is a paraphrase of what he said…
Can I be honest with you? I really wish God was as loving & accepting of a Father as some of these ‘grace’ preachers like to make Him out to be. Deep down, I want them to be right. The reality is, however, that the scriptures say something different about God. I have to come to grips with the reality of what the bible says about God, not what I want Him to be. (unnamed evangelical preacher)
A few years ago, I would not have questioned that statement. That statement, however, makes no sense in light of the kind of Father that Jesus revealed. Religion makes the Father less than what we truly want, but Jesus revealed a Father that was so much *MORE* than anything we can ask, think, or imagine.
This famous evangelical preacher hasn’t yet considered the possibility that he is viewing the scriptures about God, as a Father, through the religious lens of law and condemnation that is the bedrock of institutional christendom. This is nothing new.
Two thousand years ago, the very people who had the scriptures, viewed God through the same false religious lenses. To challenge this faulty view of God, Jesus came on the scene and told a story about His Father being like a father of two sons. One son was ‘prodigal’, and the other was self-righteous (religious).
Although both sons were misguided and did not know the true nature of their father, this father never stopped seeing those two sons as his sons. In this story that Jesus told, the father never condemned his two sons for their gross misunderstanding of his love for them. You know what?
Each one of us has been one of those sons at some point in our lives.
If we who are imperfect and corrupted in the flesh would never give up on our own kids, why do we think that our perfect heavenly Father would? We are not more benevolent than He is. This view of the heavenly Father that Jesus described & revealed was radically different than the religious god that the religious system in Jesus’ day was proclaiming. As a matter of fact, it was so radically different that they accused Jesus of being a heretic.
Nothing has changed.
A true picture of our heavenly Father is deeply offensive to the religious mindset. One way you can be sure that you are coming awake to the true nature of God as a good Father is when your own fleshly religious nature becomes offended, and when the religious ‘flesh’ of others labels you a heretic. When this happens, know that you are in good company.
Christ truly is all. A supernatural revelation of this Christ will reveal not only a lover, but a really good Father. George Michael explains the heart of our heavenly Father very well in his song ‘Father Figure’. Please take a few minutes to watch this video. Pay very close attention to the lyrics of this song as they come straight out of the scriptures. Can you hear the heart of your heavenly Father singing to you?
In Christ, we have a perfect lover & a perfect Daddy,