“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
You can often tell the state of a relationship by the titles we use. This is particularly true when referring to our fathers. Here’s how I interpret the following monikers:
- “Father” – formal, distant or even strained, as in, “Hello, Father, I’m home from boarding school. Please pass the Grey Poupon.”
- “Dad” – familiar and friendly but still respectful, “Dad, thanks for picking up dinner tonight.”
- “Daddy” – usually reserved for little children, showing intimacy, dependency and adoration. “Daddy! You’re home! Come see what I made!”
“Abba” was the word a small child would use in calling out to their father. When we think of God as our heavenly father, Paul is saying that the relationship is far more than a technical adoption, a simple change of our last name. It is accompanied by an invitation to intimacy. Our God who holds the cosmos in His hand, wants us to think of Him in the most personal of ways. He loves us so much and has given everything to purchase us from the grip of sin and death. And He desires that we draw close to Him.
Many times the relationship we have(had) with our own father shapes what we think about the idea of God as a father. Louie Giglio has said, “God is the perfection of a father, not the reflection of our father.” Everything a father is meant to be can be found in God’s character, His love, and in the inheritance He gives us. So think of Him as your “Daddy.”
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- Has the relationship with your father shaped your view of God as father? How so? In good ways or bad?
- What are some qualities of a perfect father?
- Is your relationship with God one of Father, Dad, or Daddy? Is it formal and strained, familiar and respectful, or intimate and adoring?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?