God is already pleased with you — really, He is
Most of us were trying to make a father proud long before we knew Jesus.
Maybe your father has always been present in your life. You knew his interests, how he related to people, and the things he was happy to see you doing. You took notes and incorporated these things into your life to make your dad proud.
Maybe you know your father, but he wasn’t always around. You know what it took to make him proud of you, but you rarely got a chance to feel loved by him. Years of resentment built up from all the sporting events or holidays he missed.
For many people, having a father has been a lot of work. Making our fathers proud seems ingrained in us from birth, but we rarely, if ever, feel like we’ve accomplished that goal.
As a result, hearing that God wants to be our father brings shame and guilt rather than the grace and freedom He freely gives.
So much goodness comes from knowing God as more than a higher power. But learning to see God as a father will mean shaking off our preconceived notions of what it means to be a son or daughter.
Two Things to Keep in Mind When Thinking of God as Father
1. God will always love you fully and completely.
Growing up as a boy in a small southern town, my destiny as a star athlete didn’t seem like a choice. My father was a fantastic baseball player, and I wanted to be just like him.
But it was pretty clear from the beginning of my short baseball career that I didn’t have as much of my dad’s natural gifting as we all might have hoped. Even with extra practices and time at the batting cage, I was doing it for my dad, not myself.
The disappointment I built up in my head wasn’t how my dad reacted when I eventually told him baseball wasn’t for me. But a small part of me still wishes I could have given him the joy of having a son that was as good of a baseball player as he was.
I’d be lying if I said this pattern of thinking hasn’t affected my relationship with my heavenly Father. Sometimes, I wonder if God is proud to have a son like me or if His expectations of my life continue to be unmet. I wonder if He is more pleased with my brothers and sisters, if He is happier to have created them than me.
Nothing can separate a child of God from his Father’s love.
All these things are lies from the enemy. Romans 8:38-39 says nothing can separate a child of God from his Father’s love.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Nothing. Nothing can separate us from God the father! Divorce, abandonment, and disappointment aren’t even in the equation. Achievements, accolades, and trophies mean nothing when it comes to the love we have in Jesus.
2. God delights in our truest self, not the version of ourselves that we think He wants.
Even though baseball is not something that I really enjoyed all that much, I still desperately wanted to be a baseball player. As a kid, I went to Atlanta Braves games and dreamed about running out of the dugout and seeing my face plastered on the big screen. It was the version of myself I thought others would accept the most, and it was the only version I was willing to accept of myself. God knows who we are, even before we do. He created us. He wired us. And He loves seeing us be who He made us to be.
Psalm 139 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).
God knew I wasn’t going to be a great baseball player. He knew you weren’t going to get that fancy degree you always told your parents you would get. And He knows you weren’t going to make all the money you thought you would make.
But He did know how good you would be at the job you do have. He knew what would make you laugh and what a great parent you would be one day. He delights in who you are because you are His.
The bottom line: There is no place for the things of this world when it comes to God’s love for us. He is our Father, and He is a perfect Father at that. The more we realize that our Dad’s love for us is supernatural and truly unconditional, the more we live in the freedom that is part of our inheritance as children of God.