Paul’s revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God had changed more than his attitude toward Jewish religious practices, it had changed his entire perception of God! Paul had faithfully served God (as he perceived him) by persecuting the followers of Jesus and trying to keep the Jewish religion pure.
After he met Jesus Christ and knew that Jesus was the truest expression of the God he thought he served, he began to call God his Father. The God of the universe, who was so holy the Jews wouldn’t even pronounce his name, became Paul’s loving Abba, his “Daddy in Heaven!”
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6 NLT)
So when Paul wanted to express the depth and quality of his love for the Thessalonian Christians, he told them he loved them like a father—a spiritual father of their new life of faith. So when he taught or corrected them, he didn’t treat them harshly like a slave-master or make demands and use his authority to give orders. He pleaded with them, encouraged them, and urged them onward in faith and holiness.
Two lessons in this for me:
· First, I’m reminded of the quality of my relationship with Father God. He’s my “Dad”, not merely my boss. This is a relationship to be enjoyed, not endured!
· Second, with my children, my grandchildren, and those I influence as a leader and mentor, my use of authority must not be autocratic and demanding, but it’s to be gentle, kind, and encouraging.
Father, Thanks for the privilege of calling you “Daddy.” Thanks for the love that makes that relationship real. Please help me be a good and kind father and spiritual Dad to all those I lead or influence. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
As A Father
Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2; Psalm 43
11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 NLT)
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