In Luke 2 we get a first glimpse of Jesus' personal relationship with God at age twelve. He stayed behind in Jerusalem, sitting in the temple courts among the teachers. When his parents realized that He was not with them, they anxiously looked for Him, Jesus calmly replied, Why are you searching for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my father's house? (Luke 2:49). At age twelve, Jesus saw Himself as God's Son and God as His Father.
Another significant episode happened at His baptism when Jesus was around thirty years old. While he was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. A voice came from heaven, You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. (Luke 3:21) Jesus heard His father's voice publicly affirm His identity. Jesus was God's Son, a beloved and pleasing Son, Wouldn't you agree that Jesus' identity was strengthened after hearing those words? Jesus referred to God as "my father" over forty times in the gospels.
God is a personal God
The foundation of emotional maturity is to discover that the true God, the God of the Bible, is a personal God who loves us for who we are and not what we do. An emotionally satisfying relationship with God can never be achieved through rule-keeping or comparing yourself to others. Rather, it begins with knowing our Father in heaven. Through Christ, God gives us our identity - an identity that produces a sense of security and confidence. When we become obsessed with pleasing, we are depending on others to give us an identity. Other people cannot give us our true identity because other people cannot love us like God does. Our identity must come from God alone. The most wonderful and satisfying relationship in the world is knowing you are as God's child. Yet to all who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God (John 1:12).
One important step toward spiritual and emotional maturity is to believe that God accepts you, wants to bless you, and desires to use you.
|God wants you to come to Him.|
Wait a minute!
In his book Classic Christianity, Bob George tells the true story of a three-year-old boy who lived at the White House. He would confidently skip past armed servicemen, government officials and staff members. The youngster would run right into the Oval Office and climb onto the lap of the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world. Influential cabinet members stopped their discussion. Why? The child's name was John-John and his daddy was President John F. Kennedy.
Can you imagine someone objecting? "Wait a minute. You can't just waltz in here anytime you want. Don't you know who that man is?" John-John would have looked up and said, "He's my Daddy!" What a difference it makes when a child knows who his father is.
Will you "father" me?
Our Father in heaven wants us to have the same confidence in approaching Him. It is not a matter of irreverence. Affirmation is a word that imparts grace to hurting hearts. More Bible study, fellowship and service will not necessarily touch our deeply held feelings. The solution is to draw near to God and ask him to "father you" - to ask him to tell you who you are and what he thinks of you. His voice is affirming not condemning. Will you let him reach you?
Discussion ideas for your small group or Sunday School class:
1. What part of Luke 2:49 and Luke 3:21 is most personal to you?
2. How did Jesus show that He knew who his Father was?
3. What is the difference between God loving us for what we do and loving us for who we are?
4. What feelings do you have when you think about the Creator of the universe being accessible to you?
5. How would totally embracing the concept that God is your father transform you?
Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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|What's Missing Inside You? continues this theme with more inspirational Christian stories and Biblical teaching. Try it for your small group curriculum.|