Do you know that our God is a good, good Father?
I believe that there is a growing revelation in the Church concerning God’s goodness. It is so desperately needed, too. Part of my church heritage instilled into my thinking the idea that God was a bit edgy and moody. Trusting in Him, therefore, was iffy because I didn’t quite know what side of God I was going to encounter. But this dilemma really began in Genesis when the serpent said, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’” (Gen. 3:1)? Those words were a twisting of what God actually said. God’s words were, “From any tree in the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Gen. 2:16-17). In others words, God stated that everything belonged to Adam and Eve, but out of love He protected them from the one particular tree that would damage their relationship with each other and with God.
The question posed by the enemy, however, was a direct assault on the goodness of God. His implication behind this crafty question was that God was holding out on mankind; He was not being entirely fair. The serpent wanted to dismantle the gracious nature of God in Eve’s mind and make God appear to be harsh and limiting in His kindness. The enemy essentially asked: Why is God being so unkind? There was yet another assault within the serpent’s words. It called God’s Word into question. “Indeed, has God said” really was asking if God meant what He said. The moment that we question God’s Word is the moment that we cease trusting Him. Additionally if we don’t have confidence in God’s Word, then we can reinterpret it to fit our context of living. This rationale has led many Bible schools to analyze, deconstruct, and critique the Word, and then to reshape it’s meaning to be more palatable.
If in our mind God is not good and His Word is questionable, then an intimate relationship with Him will be eroded. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I have met who have a distant relationship with God because they have engrafted the enemy’s line of reasoning into their thinking. Therefore, they never feel worthy of God’s acceptance and they live their life on a “treadmill of works” attempting to prove their value to an ever demanding God. While guilt and shame cloak them like a heavy blanket God’s love is rejected because He’s not viewed as a good Father. The insidious nature of the enemy continued when he stated to Eve, “You will be like God” (Gen. 3:5). The plot behind this statement was to make Eve think that there was a breach in her created identity. If God is so good, then why are you so unlike Him?
Eve failed to realize that God had created mankind in the very image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26). Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve were blessed with an unspoiled relationship with Him. Therefore, nothing could be further from the truth concerning their likeness to God. The serpent’s statement was an attack on the spiritual identity of mankind. Ask the average Spirit-filled believer who they are in Christ, and you’re likely to get an array of responses. This much for sure, there are Christians who live as spiritual orphans in the presence of the Father. Like the elder brother in the story of the prodigal son told by Jesus (see Luke 15:25-32), there are believers who never stray from God—who do their best to obey Him—and yet, they don’t really know their spiritual identity. There’s little joy and celebration in their relationship with God the Father.
What’s more, many Christians live with fear and guilt that they’ve never measured up to a standard that’s unattainable. Their relationship with the Father is one of disdain and disappointment. I’ve ministered to believers who have failed to see that they have a Spirit of adoption and therefore they have the privilege to cry out, “Abba! Father” (Rom. 8:15)! I remember praying for a woman who was eighty-three years old. We broke off a spirit of rejection and an orphan mindset, and we began to pray for a baptism of the Father’s love. This woman wept as she experienced for the first time ever the Father’s embrace. I saw her a year later and asked her who she was in Christ, her response was: I’m Papa’s girl!
Our understanding of the Father’s goodness can also be skewed by the image of an earthly father. Because many people had fathers who were not good, but in fact were harsh and abusive, they perceive God in the same manner. Add to that the many failed promises from a father who vowed to change but to no avail, and you have someone who distrusts the heavenly Father. If you wrestle with your understanding of God’s goodness, let me remind you of what the Bible actually says. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6).
Our God is a good, good Father. He’s the greatest Dad that we could ever have. I want to encourage you to denounce the lies of the enemy. Refuse to believe that you have to earn the Father’s love and approval because He has already chosen you (see Eph. 1:4)! Not only have all your sins been removed, but you’ve been adopted as His child and given the keys to the kingdom (Matt. 16:19). In fact, it’s His good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
Dear God, I break off lies that have been spoken over every person reading this. I declare the truth of God’s Word and say through Christ, we are chosen and blessed. We are the children of a good, good Father.