For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:10 NIV)
In order to know God as Father we need to meet him in our heart. Knowing him as Father is much more than simply knowing a fact. I guess we all know he is a father, maybe we know he is the Father but this is not enough. There is a massive difference between knowing that God is a father and to experiencing him being a Father to you. One is a fact whereas the other describes a relationship.
To know someone involves a choice and so it is for us to know God as Father. It goes beyond the fact, or knowledge that we have and it leads us into a personal relationship with the One who knows us intimately. It's allowing our fig leaves to be stripped away so we can stand before him in our vulnerability and dependence.
This might appear scary as we have become comfortable with our fig leaves, we feel safe hiding behind them. Although we may feel safe, this is not the life Jesus talks about when he offers us life in all its fulness (John 10:10).
Sadly, it's often all too easy to let our shame and condemnation prevent us from seeking life. When we fail, we tend to beat ourselves up rather than returning to the everlasting arms of the Father.
Knowing God as Father is to know him in the same way as Jesus knows him. It is far more than knowing about him. It is a heart relationship where we know his personality and nature, and maybe for the first time we begin to feel that we too, are known.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV)
When we look at the life of Jesus, we see that he knew his Father's heart. He knew it was a heart of total love and acceptance. The Father was continually pouring his unconditional love into his Son's heart and that is something he wants to do for you and me as well.
We tend to see God through a series of filters which have often been created through our experiences with our earthly parents. Whatever our background has been like, discovering the Father's heart is something for us all.
Knowing the fatherheart of God is to know the heart of God, who happens to be a Father, the perfect Father.
When we know someone's heart, we know them, we know what they think and more importantly we know what they feel. As we come to know his heart, we discover his care and compassion for us. We experience his affection and affirmation, we feel his presence with us and his pleasure towards us. We find that God has a heart and that his heart is turned towards us rather than being set against us.
When you know someone's heart you feel as if you are beginning to know the real them. As we seek the Father's heart, something in our own heart will be satisfied because we will discover more of him. We will be awakened to the truth of who we are and the reality of who he is.
These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:25-27)
Last week we looked at the fruit of the Spirit being expressed through joy. Today I will look at the next characteristic of being filled with love and that is peace.
Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit to comfort us, to deal with our empty orphan heart, to confirm to our spirit that Father has made his home in our heart and to give us peace.
Like joy, peace is not something we manufacture nor is it based on our circumstances or feelings. His peace goes beyond our understanding and takes away our fear. When we live in peace we discover a deep inner rest and contentment. Our striving will cease as we learn to trust him.
At the start of the Israelites journey Aaron declares a blessing over the people.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace’". (Numbers 6:22-24 NASB)
Peace has always been at the centre of God's heart for his people.
Peace restores us, strengthens and refreshes us. Psalm 23 is a psalm of peace: even in the midst of turmoil there is a place of peace, safety, provision and comfort.
His peace, the fruit of his Spirit living in us, will guard our heart and mind (Philippians 4:7) and as we are clothed in love so peace will rule our heart (Colossians 3:14-15).
His peace goes beyond our understanding. It is not rational and, like joy, it is not dependent on our circumstances or feelings. It is the fruit of the spirit of sonship within us, it is an expression of the Father's love finding its home in our heart. When everything is working against us we can be at peace. When our mind wants to go in one direction (usually the way of fear) peace will guide us another way. When our emotions go one way, peace takes us the other.
Jesus breathed on his disciples and said 'peace be with you'. My prayer today is that you will feel the breath of the Holy Spirit breathing peace into you and over you, that you would know it is well with your soul.
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. (Galatians 5:22-23 TPT)
Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10 NASB)
As we walk as Jesus walked we will have the same fellowship, friendship and oneness with the Father that Jesus has. Jesus lives in perfect and complete love, perfect and complete joy, perfect and complete peace and so on. When the love of the Father is poured into our heart we receive the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
The deeper we go in his love the more of this fruit we will experience. The perfection and completeness of love, joy, peace etc will grow in us.
The wonderful thing about this joy is that it's not our joy, but it's his joy. It is the fruit of his Spirit. There is nothing we need to do to work this up in us, it's a gift that is freely given and one we can freely receive.
Despite everything that is happening on earth God is supremely content and happy. He rests in his eternal nature of being perfect and complete.
Our joy is often dependent on our circumstances but his joy is dependent on who he is. As we receive his love so we receive his joy. Our circumstances may not change but when we become dependent on him we experience his joy being released in our heart. Our joy comes and goes, but his never changes.
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalm 16:10 NASB)
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12)
The joy of the Lord is a consequence of being loved. It is his love being poured into our heart that changes how we feel about ourselves and our circumstances. It's his joy that sets us free and enables us to laugh at our enemies. That's not something we can do out of our own strength.
James encourages us to seek this joy even in times of difficulty as it will empower us to endure and to experience a fulness of life.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 NASB)
My prayer today is that his joy will fill your heart as you experience an overwhelming sense of being loved.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.