What makes a good father?  We live in a country full of orphans and single moms, where many children grow up without a father.  Either that, or fathers are away for long periods of time, have passed away or are generally unavailable as the demands of life swallow them.

If one has never experienced a father, how is one to understand that God is a good father?

The fact that God is our father, was a novel thing for me.  Scripture tells us that those who believe, have the right to become children of God.  Which means that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, with God as our good father.

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  (John 1:12-13)

Out of His love for us, He not only sent His son to die on the cross for us, but “adopted us” (Eph 1:5) into His family.  For those of us who do not have a Father, He is our Father.  As Father He is intimately involved in our lives.

Now as His children, He lavishes us with His love.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)

So what are the characteristics of a good father? 

A quick search on google gave me the characteristics of a good earthly Father, so it was good to explore how scripture describes our Father God using that list.

  1. His love means that as father He wants to bless us, and so showers us with many good gifts. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:11) (James 1:17)
  2. As Father, His love protects us.‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” (Psalm 91:14)
  3. As Father, His Love provides for us. So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:31-33)
  4. As Father, He always works for our good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Rom 8:28)
  5. Our Father, has plans of a good future for us. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
  6. Our Father, teaches us. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (Psalm 25:9)
  7. Our Father disciplines us for our good. ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’   Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?… God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:5-7, 10)
  8. Our Father gives spiritual leadership through this life and into eternity. “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” (Proverbs 4:11) “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; “he will lead them to springs of living water.” “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”’ (Rev 7:17)
  9. Our Father provides an example to follow. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.” (Ephesians 5:1)
  10. Our Father loves His Bride, the church. “How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice!” (Song of Solomon 4:10)

His Love identifies us as His beloved.  Since we know this love of God, we know who we are.  However, there is one difference between a good earthly father and our Father God.

God is a perfect father.

“As for God, his way is perfect: the Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30)

No earthly father can ever be compared to our heavenly father as there is no error in His ways.

  • In what ways have you expected our Heavenly Father to behave like your earthly Father?
  • Which of the characteristics above are not something you experienced from your earthly Father?

He is a good, good father.

Father, I can call you “Abba Father,” and your Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am Your child (Romans 8:15-16).  Thank you for making me part of your family and caring for me as you do.  You are a good Father and I am loved by You.  Help me not to forget that because You love me, you are intimately involved with my life.  Help me to recognize Your goodness in my life.

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