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And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Corinthians 6:18)

We have an ongoing joke in our family. When someone says, “I love you” – the other person replies “What?” It’s an imitation of the commercial. You know the one. An older gentleman and his adult son appear to be doing woodworking. The son looks over at his father and affectionately says “I love you, Dad” to which the father replies, “What?”  This happens a second time. The camera moves to the father who tells his story about how he has pulled away from others due to his hearing problem. But he refuses to spend what he considers to be a ridiculous amount of money for a hearing aid.  Then he introduces an alternative at a much lower price. Eventually we see the two of them back in the shop assuming the father has his new hearing device in place. The scene repeats itself with the son saying to his father, “I love you, Dad” to which the father again replies “What?”  Then he smiles, looks up at his son and says, “I heard you the first time. I just wanted to hear it again.”

As we celebrate another Father’s Day, we should take that opportunity to tell our earthly fathers that we love them.  We can think it, gift it, feel it, demonstrate it and talk our way around it. But, bottom line, we need to say the words out loud. We shouldn’t wait another day, because we don’t know how long our earthly fathers will be around. Many have already lost their fathers, perhaps never knew them, or simply didn’t have a healthy connection with one. However, each of us has the opportunity to grow into a relationship with our Heavenly Father. You were created as an object of God’s love, and even those who turn from Him come to recognize that connection.  “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). That means that you were created for the purpose of having a relationship with Him and, as a result, the most important thing you can know in life is the assurance of His steadfast love. Pastor Rick Warren says, “Everything else will change during your lifetime, but God’s love for you is constant, steady, and continuous. It’s the foundation for unshakable confidence.” Accordingly, you can add great significance in your walk with your Heavenly Father by just demonstrating your love for Him. That should include telling Him so.

It is God’s wish for you to lean into Him just as you once were able to lean into your father’s arms. And even if you missed out on that, He is the perfect example of what a Father should be. He wants to be one in every aspect of our lives, if we will only let Him. God will never abandon us or leave us for orphans (John 14:18), He will be with us to guide, help, and protect us through whatever life brings our way. Jesus was once asked which was the greatest commandment in the law? This was His answer: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” He said that this is the first and greatest commandment but that a second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39). There’s a reason why Jesus said that the second greatest commandment was like the first: if we love God with all our heart, loving our neighbor will naturally follow. The scriptures tell us, “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19). The most loving thing we can do for others is love God more than we love them. For if we love God most, we will love others best.

So what does a relationship with God look like? Well, that is going to be different for each person. Just as our associations with people differ, each of us will have our own unique relationship with God because of our varied personalities. Remember that every relationship is based on trust, and that same principal applies to God (Psalm 84:12). The more you know Him and trust Him, the more intimate your relationship will be. He adores you. It would be a meaningful act of personal worship if you would simply tell Him that you love Him. If you do this, you can almost see His arms outstretched and a voice from heaven affirming . . . “I just wanted to hear it again.”

REFLECTION: If I tell God that I love Him and desire to keep His commands but fail to spend time with Him, how might you expect Hm to feel?  What do you know about God that makes Him the perfect father? How does knowing this affect your choices and your actions? How might a daily verbal expression to God telling Him that you love Him begin to change your day?


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