Lifelines September 01, 2019

“Our Father…(Matthew 6:9).”  What a remarkable relationship.  The basis of His paternity is discipleship, those who choose to live within the framework of His word (John 8:31).  It is a choice that demands the utmost of self-disciple and denial (Luke 14:26).  It is a price that few are willing to pay but the dividends are extraordinary for those who do.  Inclusion in the family of God being among its greatest benefits.

Satan has always had a bag of glittering tricks to attract our attention.  He opened them up in the old garden and has been dangling them in front of us ever since.  He used the same temptations on the Son of God offering Him fleshly gratification, sensationalism and worldly success if He would just submit to him (Matthew 4:1-11).  Thankfully, Jesus stood firm.  Following His steps will enable us to resist, too.  It is the family way.

Establishing such a relationship includes blessings beyond our understanding.  God is no longer a distant, detached deity but our Father.  He has an intimate interest in each of His children which brings security.  When addressing anxieties about life’s basic necessities, Jesus described those worries as totally unnecessary.  Why?  A disciple’s Heavenly Father knows their needs.  He feeds the birds and clothes the flowers.  He will do the same for them (Matthew 6:25-34).

The disciples of Jesus were on the brink of the most traumatic event of their lives.  Jesus would be crucified within hours.  Judas would betray Him.  Peter would deny Him.  They would all fail Him in His darkest hour.  Their whole world was about to be turned upside down on a cross, and He comforted them.  He knew exactly what was coming and offered words of consolation, “Do not let your heart be troubled…(John 14:1).”  Worry never solved anything.  Trust our Father.  He can raise the dead.  Trust Me.  I will take care of you forever.

That relationship includes accountability, as well (1 Peter 1:14-16).  Christians have the blessing of entering into that precious relationship, and it brings the responsibility of taking on the family resemblance.  His word to us consistently tells us to imitate what we see in the only begotten Son (Ephesians 5:1-2).  Our Father loves us, and Jesus put a face on that love.  His sacrificial demonstration left us an example to follow.  It is anything but typical of what we see all around us.  It is holy.      Our Father is actively involved in our development (Hebrews 12:4-11).  He takes a hands-on approach that is not always comfortable or easy as He shapes and molds us into His image.  That is what He had in mind to begin with.  Now, He is bringing out that likeness again.  It has been tarnished by sin.  That has been forgiven, but the scars remain.  His hands are polishing us once again, and eventually we will be like Him (1 John 3:1-3).