I was reading the book of Matthew, and I noticed something. I kept seeing "your Father" or "your heavenly Father," and it got me thinking. What was Jesus trying to teach us? This is what I noticed. Between Matthew 5:43 to 7:11, Jesus mentions, your Father or your heavenly Father 14 times. And one time, He says, "Our Father."
Now Jesus is known for calling God His Father. You can find Jesus saying, "My Father" throughout the gospels. But here, in between the verses above, he never says, "My Father." Why?
I believe Jesus, in this portion of Scripture, is teaching us the way of the Father. We are called to grow and become more like our heavenly Father. I saw nine things in this passage that Jesus is trying to show us about our relationship with our Father. I want to share them with you.
1) We are called to LOVE like our Father (Matt 5:44). Jesus says that we are to love our enemies. We are called to love those who use us and persecute us. Do we love those who, in short, hurt us? You may be asking yourself, "How can I do that?" Just think of how much we have hurt God. Every time we sin, we are hurting Him. Yet He still chooses to love us. He asks us to do the same. God is asking us to love those who hurt us. He would never ask us something that He didn't give us the ability to do.
2) We are called to BE LIKE our Father (Matt 5:48). How are we not like the Father? Are we working on those areas where we are not like Him? I believe the other points will help us to be more like him.
3)We are called to GIVE AND RECEIVE like our Father (Matt 6:1-4). He has called us to give through our deeds and actions, not for public recognition, but as a way to express love to others and our Father. Do we give in secret and prepare for His reward openly?
God also wants us to know how to receive from Him. More will be touched on later on that one.
4) We are called to TALK with our Father (Matt 6:5-13). Our Father longs for the time alone with us in that place of intimacy. He deeply desires us to pull the time away to be alone with Him and share our deepest joys and desires with Him. He also longs to share with us His deepest joys and desires for us.
When was the last time you had that intimidating time with our Father? Is He calling you now?
5) We are called to FORGIVE as our Father (Matt 6:12, 14-15). Forgiveness is the bedrock of our relationship with our Father. We are called to forgive. Again, through God's grace, we have been given the ability to forgive those who have hurt us. That could be your spouse, friends, parents, sibling, whoever.
Is there someone you haven't forgiven?
I need to say that forgiveness is a process. Depending on how deep the wound, the longer the process takes. But know that forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive. I also believe in the process of forgiving; we also receive the healing from the offense.
6) We are called to FAST with our Father (Matt 6:16-18). During fasting, we get closer to God. It should be a time of intimately and receiving a deeper understanding of Our Father. Back during the time of Jesus, people would fast to look holy to others. In short, put on a mask to look good.
How many Christians put on their "Christian mask" and who is not being honest? We do it to look good to others.
Christianity is not about looking good; it is all about intimacy with Our Father and sharing that with others.
When was the last time you fasted with Our Father?
7) We are called to TRUST in our Father (Matt 6:24-34). In verse 33, it says, "...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Do you worry about your kids? Or how about getting all those bills paid? Or maybe for some of you, it was you worried about what you were going to eat. My question is, what are you looking at?
Are you looking at your problem or the Problem Solver? Are you looking at your business or His business? Are you looking up to Him, our down to your lack?
We don't need to worry. You will be tempted to worry, but you don't have to. Choose to trust in Him. Even when everything looks black, and there seems to be no way out, Our Father can open a door that was before unseen. If He can feed 5000 off of 5 loaves and two fish (Matt 14:13-21), He can meet your need.
This One speaks to us personally.
8) We are called to ASK from our Father (Matt7:7-12) Do you ask from our Father? I don't mean about asking Him to have you win the lotto. I suggest asking Him about those things that He wants for you and are good for you.
If you ask for help with your character, habitual sin, or wisdom on what to do with your kids, your job/business. He wants to help.
He wants to give if you need help paying the bills, saving your marriage, or need food on the table.
There are a lot of times we don't ask Him to give to these needs. Sometimes we don't have because we don't ask. ( James 4:2)
9)We are called to SHINE OUR LIGHT to glorify our Father (Matt 5:13-16). Does your light shine in a way that God gets the glory? Or by the way you live your life, do people become attracted to one who transformed your life?
By the way we live our lives, are people becoming attracted to our Father? If not, we must wonder if we are living "The way of our Father."
God is calling us to the way of our Father. Hear His call, and let us follow Him.
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Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 24 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.