We all have a different experience with our father. Some of us have memories of a great father who was present and active in our lives. Others may remember a father who was there, but was absent. And some of us probably never knew our fathers. However, this does not remove our need for a father in our lives.
When we get saved we enter into a relationship with the greatest Father we could ever hope for. Even if we had a trophy dad, he pales in comparison with God, our Heavenly Father. The problem is that if we have negative associations with our earthly father we will almost always, and unknowingly, apply those to God.
This doesn’t make us bad people. It doesn’t mean that God will step out of His fatherly role in our lives. It does mean that we will block ourselves from receiving from Him. God, our Father, is an infinite source of love, encouragement, and wisdom, but if we view Him as a God who is there but absent, abusive, or disinterested, we will never move into the intimate relationship He has made available through Jesus Christ. We will stand at a distance, never fully trusting Him, all the while being confused as to why we are dissatisfied with our Christianity.
Romans 8:15 in the Amplified Bible says “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, ‘Abba! Daddy!’.”
This verse shows us two drastically different views of God. In the first half of the verse we see a fearful stance towards God. What a funny thing to think that God, who sent His own Son to die for us, and gave us His Spirit to guide us, would do it all so we would live in fear of Him. This is how many people in the body of Christ think, though. They live in constant fear of God’s judgment and anger.
All of God’s anger was taken out on Jesus when He died on the Cross. That’s what makes the second half of the verse possible. Jesus died to build a bridge between God and us. When we receive His spirit it isn’t so He can keep a constant eye on us, tallying our sins and good deeds. He gives us His Spirit, the Spirit that produces sonship, so we can joyfully cry “Abba! Daddy!”
God doesn’t want us to shrink away from Him in fear and shame. He wants us to cry out to Him the way a small child calls out to his father.
This is the reason why our prayers go unanswered and our Christianity doesn’t flourish within us. We have the wrong view of God. God is not an absent father, who only shows up when we sin to bring the hammer down on us. He is a loving, Heavenly Father who wants to walk closely and intimately with us, giving us all the wisdom and provision we need to live abundantly.