by Justin Miller
When I was young Pastor Bob was just Dad to me. He was the guy who laid down all the rules, enforced the rules, and provided so the rules could exist. I loved him as a child simply because of what he did for me. Even though I hated his rules, I knew and recognized him as my resource and my appropriations committee. If I violated the terms, I ran the risk of limiting my resources. In my teenage years, once my dad established me I completely turned on him. Forgetting that he was the ultimate reason I was able to stand in the first place, I rebelled. Even after I grew a little older, joined the Army and left home with a family of my own, I did not recognize his presence and influence in my life. I neither honored nor respected him. In my mind I had arrived on my own. I could not explain in one sentence how far reaching my dad’s love for me was and just how much trouble he got me out of even then. I only saw his mercy and grace towards me as some sort of obligation because I was his son and that’s just what you do when you have children.
Well, that was some pretty ignorant and manipulative thinking. Pastor Bob and Pastor Jeanne knew that too but they always loved me despite my shortcomings. All those years my dad was just there. I knew nothing of his inner workings, feelings, thoughts, dreams or visions. I’m sorry dad for all those wasted years. I was your child but I was far from your friend.
What a prophetic twist my life has taken! I see many Christians today who treat their Father God like Al Bundy (Married with Children)! They want all His goods but they don’t want Him as a person. Where’s the honor in that? Where’s the love in that? Where’s the respect? Friends, God is not robbed nor is He mocked. Thank God we as Christians are equipped with an uncanny ability to change and transform ourselves (our minds) with deadly efficiency by the power of the Holy Ghost.
James 2:23 reveals to us an important aspect of our relationship with God the Father. The Word says God called Abraham a friend. This position with the Father was so revered that in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehoshaphat feared for his life, he petitioned God based on Abraham’s status to lay claim to Judah’s deliverance (verse 7). He saw the Father as his God: Jehovah Sabaoth, Nissi, Rapha, Tsidkenu – but not his friend. Maybe he didn’t see himself as fitting into that position? We know based on the law, Jehoshaphat knew of his unrighteousness. Then again, so did Abraham. So did David for that matter. What made the difference?
Heart. Heart made all the difference in the world. It’s the difference between love and like, justice and revenge, righteousness and self-righteousness, clean and dirty, the whole truth from half a truth and the right from the wrong. Heart is everything. It was the difference between the rod that Aaron threw down and the rods Pharaoh’s magicians threw down. To many men it remains a mystery but to God’s eyes the human heart is an open book revealing all the hidden things man himself is not able to discern. Heart was everything to a scoffing Sarah who inwardly laughed but Hebrews tells us she was in faith. God knew her heart and motive. Yes, the difference between Abraham, David and others was and still is heart. It was David who said let me fall into the hand of the Lord rather than suffer the wrath of men. And it was Abraham who saw Jesus’ day and rejoiced. Why is that important? Because despite their shortcomings, they knew God and they knew He searched their hearts and knew their motives. They trusted in, adhered to, and relied on Him and Him alone. In short they were men of faith.
The Bible says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. What keeps that friend there? Heart. Heart says wherever you are, I’ll be there with you. Whatever you face I face too. If you go down I’ve got you covered. If we both go down we go together. Heart doesn’t just say I’ll help you carry the joys and sorrows. Heart says I WANT your joys and sorrows. I want your highest ecstasies and your deepest pains. I want your heart and mind; I want your thoughts and devotions. I want everything that you are down to the very core of your being and I’ll give you everything that I am to take up your vision.
When I learned this, Pastor Bob became my friend. He’s my best friend to date besides the Godhead. He can confide in me and I confide in him. All I have is his and all he has is mine. Haven’t you seen all those suits of his I wear? We as fathers need to foster this heart attitude in our children so when they grow old they won’t depart from it. I learned heart from dad because he gave God his heart. He’s the most genuine man I know and will go through any difficulty to work with the Father in achieving the expected outcome. He’ll never back down. By the grace and love of God, he’s NEVER failed. He experienced set backs of course but heart kept him in the game. Heart attached him to the Father’s hip and established him as a trusted confidante. If we aimlessly wander through life wishy-washy, our children will imitate that in their lives. If they see us always looking for a way around something and not through it, they will imitate that behavior in their lives. If we don’t teach them the power of living with Godly vision and the heart to stick with it through thick and thin, our children will perish.
As Father’s Day rolls around we need to check ourselves and ask – am I a friend or an acquaintance to the Father? Am I someone the Lord passes in the hall and says “Hi” to on His way to important and intimate meetings with His friends? How are we honoring and respecting our Father? That’s what our children are seeing and it will shape their entire outlook on life. Are we too busy spilling our guts out to Him like He’s Dear Abby to let Him confide in us? Our wants and our needs are pitifully small in comparison to being His confidante. It’s in the abiding that we’re made whole. Matthew says seek first the kingdom, AND His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. That’s where I want to be: In the confidence of my Father and Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit. What a difference in my life with Pastor Bob as my best friend, how much more God our Father?