A Father's love
By Keith Boutte
As a father, stepfather, father-in-law and grandfather I’ve experienced many different emotions as I strive to father the generations given to me. In doing so I have many regrets and sorrows but also much joy and honor in and from my children. I thank and credit God for the perfect lessons in loving and teaching children even though I’ve missed the mark often.
So as fathers we need God our Father’s love and guidance throughout our lives. I think of the prodigal son’s return to his father’s house. Having failed greatly in making life’s decisions he realized his father was a good provider, yet more so, a loving caring person. Having no hope, he found hope in his father as we see in Luke 15:17 (NLT), “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!’”
As a father I must strive to give godly hope and love to all my children and show them my love is unconditional, even in their worse condition. God shows us His heart in Luke 15:20 (NLT), “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he “ran” to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” God’s love never turns away a repent heart.
We know in this parable the father puts his finest robe on the returning son showing all the love and acceptance of his wayward son to everyone there. And then a ring on the son’s finger showing his complete forgiveness and restoration of that son. The Word says in James 5:19-20 (NLT), “My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
After we see the father’s love and restoration of his wayward son, we see the pride and jealousy in the father’s older son in Luke 15:28-30 (NLT), “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’”
The older brother believed his feelings and actions were justified about his younger brother’s restoration to the father, but in reality, he sinned against his father. Jealousy and pride overwhelmed the older brother instead of love and mercy. His boasting and self-righteousness filled his heart with anger towards his father. I know and understand how he felt, I all too often judge someone from what I’ve heard or seen. But if I’m to reflect God’s love I must do as God does and see a repentant heart over the sin committed. James 2:13 (NKJV) says, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Look at the father’s answer to his loyal and faithful serving son, Luke 15:31 (NKJV). “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Focus on “all I have is yours.” Our disobedience comes with a price. The younger son squandered his earthly blessing and now all the father had on earth belonged to the older son. The older son not only failed to trust his father but he accused his father of treating him as a hired hand. The blessings of the father were in his hand but he only saw the work not the reward. And like God the Father, he assured his older son “all I have is yours.”
Friends we must know and believe God’s Word, Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” Christiansare blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places! We have direct access to God the Father through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross! We have God the Holy Spirit leading, guiding and equipping us for every good work! The Word says in Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV), “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Teach what Paul taught in Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV), “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Once we accept God’s love and forgiveness we are made clean and completely restored as children of God. And as we see in this parable even in a forgiven Christian’s life, sin can so easily creep back into our heart.
Father’s let the love of the Father in us show our wives and children and all we are trusted with that we to are striving to please God daily and when we fall short, rise and repent humbly accepting God’s grace again and again. Happy Father’s Day!