with Jeremy Westcott –
So much better
What is the Father really like? Because if we are going to enter into a relationship with Him, we need to know that. And you can only get to know what He is really like by meeting Him and engaging with Him yourself.
As I began to meet Him, I discovered that He was not at all like I thought He was. And the more I get to know Him, the more I realise He is less and less like I thought. He is so much better!
Who He is not
In fact, the Father is not at all who religion or culture makes Him out to be.
The Father is not an old man with a long white beard, some Santa Claus type figure, generous with presents if you have been good – but if not, ‘You’d better watch out’, as the popular Christmas song says. He is not watching, waiting for us to get something wrong so that He can punish us.
The Father is not a wrathful, distant deity who needs appeasing with animal sacrifices, as you might think from a superficial reading of the Old Testament (see Heb 10:1-10). He is not the angry face of a two-faced God (with Jesus as the good-natured side). They are both exactly the same. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). So the Father is not a cosmic child abuser who killed His Son to satisfy His anger and wrath. He is not a parent who turned His back on His Son on the cross but one who went through it all with Him.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Cor 5:19).
The Father is not a disinterested creator who, having made everything, then just sits back and allows it to work out however it will. Nor is He a script writer who sovereignly and fatalistically decided how everything should be.
The Father is not a parent who has favourites amongst His children, so that He has chosen some to be with Him forever and others to be separated from Him and punished forever. He is not a torturer who will be endlessly tormenting most of His children because they did not do things His way. He is not the kind of parent who abandons, disinherits and disowns His children when they turn away from Him and ignore His advice because they think they know better.
The Father is not a cosmic heavenly sugar daddy that we can manipulate to give us anything we want by trying to please or appease Him with our good behaviour. Nor is He impressed by our tantrums.
Do you see how the Father has been misunderstood and misrepresented by religion to be someone He is not?
A loving Dad
Jesus is His express image and likeness and we can come to the Father for ourselves through Him. He is fully represented in and by His Son and is a loving, caring, compassionate Dad who deeply desires for all His children to enjoy an intimate love relationship with Him. He does not look at us the way we look at ourselves, or the way anyone else sees us. We are all the apple of His eye and the treasure of His heart, and He wants only good things for us. He desires to constantly bless us.
He is a loving parent, who will never force His children to do anything but is patient, tolerant and kind. He has a love for all His children that will never end, will never fail and will never give up on any of us. He is passionate about all His children and is patiently working and waiting for all of them to return to an intimate loving relationship with Him. His discipline is not punishment but loving correction, to help us make better decisions in future.
We are His passion. He does not hold Himself aloof from us because ‘He cannot look upon sin’. That is religious dogma built on half a verse in the Old Testament. Read the other half: the prophet is complaining that, somehow, He still does (Hab 1:13).
The Father allows us to make our choices. He so loves all His children that He is constantly working with all our choices and decisions, even the worst and most stupid of them, to produce something good that can even be woven into the fulfilment of His heart’s desire.
One time, the Father said to me, “I want to show you My mind”. I thought “Wow! I’m going to be in the firing neurons of the creativity of God” but it was not like that at all. I found myself in the midst of a conversation between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And I kept hearing my name, which got my attention. He was constantly connecting and reconnecting with me, making corrections to ensure that I could still follow the path, even if I have gone off into some side track. He will even use the side track that I walked on as part of the story. He engages with us in the ‘eternal now’ – it is not past, not present, not future for Him, it is just ‘now’.
He is my Dad and is always available, never too busy for me, never leaves me, always wants the best for me, is always interested in me, always welcomes me into His open arms of love. My loving Dad is the most wonderful, faithful, trustworthy, patient, kind, good, joyful, peaceful, fun-loving, awesome Father who is always sharing His heart and thoughts with me. I love spending time with Him. He is fathering me.
And He is your Dad too.
Circle of the dance
So you do not need to be concerned with the arguments of those who do not know Him face to face or with the opinions of those who are conditioned to think they know Him because of what they have been taught by religion. Some people will always believe what they have always believed because they interpret everything in a way which backs up what they already believe. But if you are open to new revelation, God will show you who He really is.
You can see the Father if you can see Jesus, the Son. Get to know Him. Allow Him to deconstruct the false images you have of Him. This will inevitably stretch your understanding. But once you have been in the circle of the dance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you know there is only one conclusion: God is love.
He asked me, “And what does 1 Cor 13 say about love? That it torments and punishes? No! Love is kind and bears all things”. Those ‘all things’ are the ‘all things’ He is looking to see restored, by the way.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Cor 13:4-7a).
This post was extracted and edited from Mike’s teaching during the Sons Arise! Engaging The Father conference held at the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple, UK in 2018. Material from this event also features in Mike’s new book, ‘Engaging the Father’, the first volume in the Sons Arise! series, due to be published on 7th June 2023. You can (pre-)order the paperback from your favourite local or online bookshop or get the ebook NOW from our website. More info: eg.freedomarc.org/books
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