Imitating the Father
As a little boy, my dad was such a mysterious figure in my life. I loved him, and I wanted to be like him. I tried to walk like him and say the same things that he said; with less effectiveness, I'm afraid. But there were so many things that I didn't understand about him. He was a mystery to me. Where did he go when he left the house? What was he doing? Who were all these people he talked to on the phone? Where did he learn all the things he knew how to do? Why does he play with cards (solitaire) every day when he gets home from work? As the years went by, I began to get answers to my questions. As my dad took me to work with him, I learned what he did outside of the house. I met some of the people he spoke to on those mysterious phone calls, and he even taught me how to play solitaire. With age, time, and understanding, the veil of mystery surrounding my father lifted, and I grew to know my father for who he was. Our relationship with God (the Father) is strikingly similar to a child's curiosity about their father. God can seem distant and mysterious. The solution to the distance is the same as with my earthly dad. Time. As you spend time with God, in prayer, meditation, and study of His words, you begin to understand his motives, what is important to him, and even what he is doing every day as he works. Over the years, I have grown to admire several personal qualities of the Father, and I try to emulate them in my life, just as you should.
God is a creative
One of the first things that people recognize about God is His skill and creativity as an artist. Nature is full of amazing creatures that reflect the creative and imaginative character of God. Every day we have two opportunities to witness God's astounding creativity as he paints the sky with his own unique color palette. His creativity knows no bounds. It is revealed in biology. It can be understood in His written word. You can experience it in the music of the songbirds. Even your observation of the world around you demonstrates his creativity because he created your eyes and engineered them in such a way that you could revel in his created works. But how can we imitate God in his infinite creativity? When I write, it never comes out correctly the first time. I have to keep working at it. I change words, rearrange sentences, and I delete whole paragraphs. Why, because I want to follow God's example. He continued to create until he was able to say, "It is good." So no matter what your creative endeavor is, painting, writing, conversation, welding, woodwork, pursue excellence as a form of worship—a form of imitating your Heavenly Father.
God is Provider
God provided for Adam and Eve for from the start. They had a safe place, food to eat, even entertainment. But God also provided them with choices. He didn't shelter them from the dangers of a world outside of His will. He was disappointed when they made a mistake, and He allowed them to deal with the consequences, but He continued to provide for them in real tangible ways. Since he created us, he knows what our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs are, and He also knows that only He can fill those voids in our lives, but he wants us to choose Him of our own accord. As a parent, I try to emulate God's provision for his children. I don't shelter my kids from a sinful world, I educate them and give them clear direction about what they should and should not do, but ultimately I let them decide. We should all know that the best way to provide for our children deeper needs is not to attempt to meet them ourselves but to provide an environment where they see us being fulfilled in our relationship with God. This example will model for our children how to find the provider.
God is a master strategist.
As you walk through the narrative of scripture, you can not help but be amazed at God's foresight. Once you reach the New Testament, it becomes very evident that He knew what he was doing all along. When you see the Lord provide a sacrifice in the story of Abraham and Isaac, and you see God do the same thing on a universal scale using His own Son, you cannot doubt that everything is done with meaning and purpose. God never wastes anything. Every word uttered furthers His goals, and every action performed is to reveal his character. God seems consumed with his eternal purpose. Okay, we can't reach the level of the Master Strategist like Him. But there are a few things that we can do to help us as we imitate this part of our Father's character. First, recognize that he always has a plan. Then, find it. Get on your knees, and seek the Lord, ask him what you are supposed to do, and wait to hear from him. Stop chasing after other people's strategies through books and podcasts when you should be seeking God on your knees. If you genuinely desire to follow him, he will make the path clear.
He is full of love and affection.
I know many people are reminded of God's wrath and judgment when they think about the Father. That's fair because he is a God who judges, and his judgment can be severe. BUT even these characteristics are motivated by love. Because even when we think we know what is best for us, God's boundaries are meant for our benefit. He wants us to be happy and satisfied in Him. And his wrath and judgment are necessary when we are detouring people from their intended path and leading others to a path of destruction. The father's love is radical and overwhelming. He is willing to sacrifice everything because he loves us so much. Is my love and affection for others self-serving or self-sacrificing? Am I willing to give sacrificially of myself for the good of others? Self-worship is an ever-present struggle, but when we find ourselves imitating our Father, inevitably, we will find ourselves loving others, expending more energy loving others than loving ourselves. Jesus said, "I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way." John 5:19 God is our father. He is the source of all good things, and if we want to walk in righteousness and goodness, we must learn to imitate our Father.
Read the rest of the series here:
Imitating the Spirit