Fathers And Their Kids

Every evening I kiss my kids goodnight and tell them that I love them. They know they’re mine.

Can you imagine if they didn’t believe me? What if my seven-year-old laid there in bed after I left the room thinking “Daddy doesn’t love me, he hates me – in fact, I’m not even sure there is a Daddy, maybe I just came into existence by spontaneous generation and Daddy is a figment of my imagination.”

What hell that would be for him! To doubt my love would leave him adrift in a dark world of loneliness. So, I am very passionate and determined about convincing my kids to believe in my love – but they are my kids whether they believe in my love for them or not. They don’t become my kids when they believe in my love for them. They are my kids, first and forever, and then they become believers in my love for them.

What’s my best strategy for convincing them of my love? Will they be more convinced of my love if I am constantly, on a daily basis warning them about the dangers and suffering that will come from doubting my love? Will my seven-year-old be reassured if I go into his room tonight and say “I love you, and I hope you believe that because if you don’t then I’m going to throw you out of the house and let you die in the street.”

Or, will he be more reassured by hearing day after day a consistent message about his true identity? A message that says “you are mine, I love you, and nothing – not even your own doubt – will change the reality of who you are: my beloved child.” My seven-year-old will be far more reassured if I go into his room tonight and say “I love you.” Period, end of discussion, no qualifiers and no “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts”. That’s my best strategy: to focus on the unequivocal declaration of their inclusion and status as my beloved children.

I believe it is the same with the good news of our adoption into the Triune Life. The Son of God has gathered up humanity into his relationship with the Father and the Spirit (Eph. 1:5, Col. 1:19-20, Rom. 5:18). We don’t become the Father’s children when we believe in his love, instead, Jesus has made us the Father’s children and now the Spirit is calling us to believe that we are loved and included in the Triune Life. To doubt this gospel is hell and to believe it is heaven, so we are passionate about convincing people to believe that Jesus has made them children of his Father.

What’s our best strategy for that?

I think our best strategy for telling the world about the Father of Jesus is the same as the strategy I use with my kids every night when they go to bed: to tell them “you belong to the Father, he loves you , and nothing – not even your own doubt – will change the reality of who you are: a beloved child of the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.”

No “ifs”, “ands,” or “buts” about it.

~ Jonathan Stepp

5 comments so far

  1. Jane Hinrichs on

    Pastor Jonathan, I know exactly how your child would feel if he doubted your love. My youngest has been my daughter for 2 years now and for most of her time with me she questions if I will keep loving her. I tell her almost nightly that it doesn’t matter what she does or does not do, I will always love her. Just last night she had a dream I gave her away. And I have to tell her again, “I will never ever ever ever give you away. You are my daughter forever.”

    Why did this happen? I am her third mom. Her biological mom gave her up. She was adopted at 18 months by another family. When she was almost seven years old, her first adopted family gave her up yet again. She has experienced this and so this experience has to be challenged daily until finally it is just a distant memory and no longer reality.

    I think maybe this is what some of us Believers experience with God — not because of God but because of the inadequate love we’ve received from family.

  2. John Geerlings on

    Hi Jonathan
    Thanks for this blog!
    It is the way the Spirit allows our mind to be renewed through foundational truth (Jesus) in ongoing repetition of this reality so that we may come to live from His life. We cannot see the light even though it is every person’s life so that in Jesus by the Spirit for the Glory of the Father it is revealed and we may come to see and hear. Your adoption example is great, who ever adopts the parents when the children love them!

  3. Pastor Jonathan on

    Hi Jane, thanks for your comments – that is powerful illustration of what we’re talking about!
    John: thanks for the encouraging comments!

  4. Jeannine on

    LOVE this, Jonathan!!! I am taking this same approach with my children (and self!).

  5. Pastor Jonathan on

    Thanks, Jeannine!

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