I was taking some quiet time yesterday morning and began to wonder how many people address their fathers as “Father.” I only called mine “Dad.” The word “Father” carries a sense of formality to it and in my mind a lack of intimacy. In my thought meanderings I began to wonder about the process by which we interact with God. I am aware of the Old Testament Hebraic mindset which viewed God in terms of His holiness and separateness from humanity. I am aware of our need to acknowledge God’s holiness and our need for the perfect alignment of our life with His pure selfless love (holiness). At the same time, Jesus spoke in terms of endearment in His relationship with His Heavenly Dad.
As individuals who have said YES to the relationship with God through His Son, Jesus and who have been identified as children of God and joint heirs with Jesus, I wonder what kind of a connection do we really possess?
In most Christian traditions, we have been taught to address God as our Heavenly Father. To keep and maintain a formal and in a sense, more emotionally distant relationship. In my mental meanderings I found myself asking, “Why?” Are there underlying controls at work seeking to force me to depend upon some other mediator, perhaps human, perhaps organizational, that I must depend upon to access God? For me, such a process does not line up with Scripture.
Before Adam and Eve’s rebellion, God personally walked and communicated with them. My understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son on the Cross of Calvary brought about reconciliation between humanity and God. The curtain in the temple, symbolizing the separation that our rebellion had caused, was ripped from top to bottom. Hebrews 4:16 declares, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
What produces more confidence? Coming into the presence of a holy, powerful monarch with our request, or coming into the presence of a loving Dad, who knows us and is able to meet our need?
If God truly loves us and interested enough in relationship with us to have His Son sacrifice His life for us (Romans 5:8), then perhaps He is not as concerned that we might somehow mess up royal standards of etiquette, as He is about our heart felt love and passion for relationship with Him.
Yes, those who are in a loving committed relationship will seek to live in ways that shows respect and honour, but at the same time there is a desire to truly connect and relate to the one who is loved. I am giving careful consideration to working at shifting how I address God. Heavenly Dad is much more appealing to me, than Heavenly Father. What do you think?