For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. EPH 2:8-10 (ESV)
You’ve heard it said that He is your Father. We even cry out in song “Abba, I belong to you,” Which means “Daddy, we are yours!”. But, what does that mean for the one who was raised without a father? Or, yet still, one with a bad perception of what a father should be? Were you raised by a single mother? or grandmother? Did your father treat you inappropriately? Did he force expectations upon you that you couldn’t hope to achieve?
The problem with our society is that we are by-and-large: fatherless. But God is a “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” (Psalm 68:5)! He loves unconditionally, relentlessly, overwhelmingly.
When we allow our earthly fathers to define our heavenly Father, things get out of whack. Many of us grew up in homes where our fathers were strictly the disciplinarian. Did your mother ever say, “You just wait until your father gets home!”? Then, your poor father had to come home after a long day of work and disciple his child for something he wasn’t even there to witness. When our view of God is the father who comes home to spank us, we see him as evil. We see him as mean.
Did you spend your whole childhood trying to impress dad? Did you live for his “attaboys”? When we associate our God in heaven with the father who only praises us when we do great things we constantly try to work to impress Him. As we see in the above scripture, our salvation is not a result of our works… why? So that no one could boast. We can not impress the Lord! That’s freedom! We are saved by His work on the cross, not by our actions. Our identity is found in Him, not the things we do for Him. That means that Pastors aren’t any more loved or appreciated by God for doing what they’ve been called to do than the plumber who is using his God-given talent to unclog drains.
Only you can do what God has created you to do. The last part of the above scripture says that we are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Do you see that even your good works are not your own? Even the great and wonderful things that we do are prepared by God before we even consider doing them. When you give to the homeless man on the street corner, God’s provision for that man by you was ordained before the earth began!
Take these things with you today:
GOD IS A LOVING FATHER WHO LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY
YOU WERE CREATED UNIQUELY
YOU WERE CREATED WITH PURPOSE
GOD IS PLEASED WITH YOU