The Good Father

Excerpt taken from Let’s Go Find This Kingdom Come – Chapter Four – The Good Father

For the month of APRILthis chapter, in it’s entirety, will be online at the link above. There are some references to the chapter in this blog, so if you missed last weeks, you may want to go read the chapter.

The Good Father

The story about the father with the prodigal son, the one I would have titled “The Good Father,” that story doesn’t end with the reconciliation of the younger son. Remember, this father had two sons.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. (Luke 15:25-31)

So the older son comes in from working out in the field to find a celebration party well underway for his prodigal brothers return. He is upset and will not go into the house to join the party. When his father comes out to meet him we learn that the older sons perception of reality has greatly affected how he has lived his life. He tells his dad he’s been, “slaving out in the fields” for him. Essentially, “Why on earth are you celebrating my brother? What’s he done for you lately?!”

The father’s response is absolutely stunning because it describes our inheritance, “Son, why would you be out slaving for me. Everything I have is yours.”(paraphrase) Essentially the father say’s, “all that I am is available to you, no slaving required. You have access to it simply because you are my son.”

The older sons frustrated interaction with his dad reveals that, just like his younger brother, he didn’t truly know his father’s love.Therefore he had no access to his inheritance. His perception of reality was determined by a lie. He slaved under a works based reality for a harsh master instead of co-laboring in a relational, intimate revelation of dads love.

He did not know his dads true nature (Love) and therefore he did not have access to his inheritance. He was a slave. His life, his actions, were determined by an incorrect perception on reality. It’s even possible that this fella would have spit in his brother’s ice cream given the chance. Heck, he might have even spit in His dad’s ice cream…just saying. It’s easy to become offended when you are not living in a revelation of Love.

What’s scary to me is that when we can’t see God as Father, we not only miss out on our inheritance, but we will actually find ourselves sided against Him. When we slave, we are unable to celebrate mercy or grace. The scary thing about slaving, besides the fact that it sucks, is it will actually position us against the very Father we think we serve.

To be honest, there are a lot of older brother rumblings coming from the church today - religious slaves seeking judgment for failed, lost, deceived, and even restored prodigals. In fact, I would guess much of the world sees the church as the older brother. Slaving for a Father while wagging our finger in judgment at a lost, broken, and confused world.

I would like to suggest that the desire to see judgment come to a lost sinner, a fallen, or even deceived saint, is not the heart of the Father – ever.

I was in conversation with a friend the other day and essentially said just that. He responded with, “Ok, but shouldn’t we challenge lies and immorality?”

“Only if we can do it without taking our eyes off Dad (Love).” I said. He looked at me a bit confused. I continued, “When we take our eyes off our Father, we forget why we are here. Suddenly we are defending a gospel of principles instead of revealing Love.” Principles don’t truly transform. Only love has the power to bring about true change.

The fact is, God is not trying to change our behavior, His desire is to release identity -  We are His sons and daughters not slaves. But more on this later.

I have met many Christians and even read a few books that would rather focus on the problem instead of the answer - need instead of love. I have heard many messages that exploit need instead of reveal Love. Sadly much of the church is spitting in the ice cream. There are many older brothers that believe their calling is to defend a gospel.

No offense, but Jesus didn’t seem concerned with defending a gospel. He was too busy revealing the Gospel - His Fathers always-good love. He lived miraculously, died selflessly, and rose powerfully, all so we might be restored back to our place in the family – as sons and daughters. All so we might have full access to our inheritance – the Love nature of our Father.

If we don’t know our Dad, we are forced to live in the insecurity of slavery – we are compelled to defend a gospel. Like the older brother we find ourselves opposed to Dad in judgment of those who don’t see it like we do or who didn’t “tow the line.” 

I don’t need to defend the faith to know who I am. Neither my identity nor my value is discovered in my beliefs, it’s discovered in my Fathers nature - love. And it's discovered in how He see’s me – loved.

“These kids have to pay!” It’s the thought that comes when we forget who we are as His kids, and who "these kid"s are. If we find ourselves desiring judgment on another person, we will find ourselves directly opposed to Gods love – that’s not a good place to be for the obvious reason that He’s always right. But it’s also a tragedy for another reason.

If we don’t have a revelation of our Father, then we end up slaving for a harsh and petty God. Slavery is between a master and a servant. But sons and daughters have access to inheritance. It’s our Fathers sincerest desire that we come into a relationship with Him as Dad, that we might be set free to live as sons and daughters.

The moment the young son truly sees his fathers nature, is the moment he received his inheritance. It’s the same for us, the moment we see Dad, we are set free to be His sons and daughters, and that’s where our inheritance is accessed. Our Fathers nature revealed is our inheritance, and this is how we are created to live - in the power and authority of the same Love that Jesus lived.

Jesus told us this story to reveal His always-good Father - our always-good Father!  He was basically saying, “Hey, I have come to give you access to Dad! I have come to tell you about His always-good love - your inheritance. What’s your inheritance look like? Everything that is our Father!

“Everything He has is ours!” You get it. All of Dad, all of heaven, is available only to sons and daughters. When we encounter our Fathers nature, like the prodigal son did, we suddenly have our inheritance. Its not slaves who get inheritances, its sons and daughters.

The fact is, while I can call God dad, if I relate to him like either of the sons did before the prodigals return, then the truth of my identity as his son is greatly limited to my misunderstanding of His nature.  Instead of living in the freedom, power, and authority of my inheritance - His nature - I live in the limitations of a slave.

What we believe determines how we live. Just so, when we see God as our Father and become sure in His love, we are transformed into sons and daughters with all access to our destiny. When we see our Father and become sure in His love, all impossibilities become possibilities – it’s called heaven on earth...

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