The Big But
~On the heels of teaching his disciples that in prayer we petition Our Father in heaven, we find this very significant big but:
For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
This big but brings sharp clarity: while those who don’t believe in God run after all these things, God followers should be confident that He knows and supplies our needs. Trust in Him. Don’t worry.
Vertical over horizontal focus; eternal over temporal perspective; and faith—these are the lessons of chapter 6. This life that Jesus commends in the Sermon on the Mount, a life that would appear entirely other to a watching world, begins with the heart—its attitudes and appetites.
But when we see Him …
Read Matthew 6:9-13
As we noted, Jesus’ taught his disciples to pray beginning, “Our Father in heaven.” Studies have discovered that our understanding of God as a heavenly Father is framed first by our experience of our physical father. Those studies have shown that where people experienced a dad that was distant or indifferent, they’ve struggled to picture God as a caring heavenly Father who is present and caring. Where some have experienced a perfectionist dad who seemed always to be disappointed in them, it has been extremely difficult to embrace God as a Father who loves unconditionally, and who is merciful and gracious. Sadly, where they’ve experienced dads who were violent or abusive, their ability to see God as a Father in whom they can find safety, rest and peace is almost impossible.
Give some thought to if or how your experience of your earthly dad may have influenced your picture of God as your heavenly Father. Prayerfully consider that where titles are concerned, God is the standard, not a copy—we shouldn’t use the picture of fathering we see in men to define God as a Father, but rather the other way around. Explore your own misgivings about God as a Father. Where have they originated and how might He bring you to a deeper comfort in this heavenly parent-child relationship? Let’s pray to that end.
AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER SIX, BIG BUTS OF THE BIBLE: A REVEALING LOOK AT JESUS CHRIST