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Day 28 – Call Me “Papa”

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”

—Galatians 4:6

Sonship is a relationship other children don’t have. In Roman and Hebrew culture, only sons—firstborns, in particular—received certain rights. All of humanity is part of God’s family, but because we’ve embraced His firstborn Son, Jesus, we are elevated to the same status not only as firstborn heirs, but adopted firstborns. We are positioned right next to the Father with Christ, with the same privileges, authority, and responsibility.

Because God views us as sons, we have unprecedented access to the Father’s heart. We are first in line. He hears us, watches over us, and provides all we need. Just as I come running up the stairs when one of my girls calls to me in the middle of the night, so the Lord comes running to us when we call.

The Holy Spirit in us makes this possible. Without Him, we couldn’t cry out with the same connection. We couldn’t call God Abba, the word for “daddy” in Aramaic. It is a moldable word. It speaks of the kind of comfort, security, and identity only a father gives. This Abba kind of father meets our all needs, gives us purpose, and keeps us safe. Like a security blanket, this father is the kind of warmth that wraps around us and holds us close.

I never felt like I could call God “Daddy,” although that’s how this word is often translated. After my dad died suddenly in September 2015, I realized I’d always struggled to call God “Father.” I had a good dad—really, the best. The picture that comes to my mind when I visualize the word “dad” is him. With his passing, the trouble in relating to God this way started to surface. I discovered there were ideas in my heart that had to be cleaned out in order for me to really embrace God as Father. I didn’t have a father anymore. I needed Him to step into that place in a big way.

During a prayer session, I was shocked when the Lord spoke to me, “I’m not your dad. I don’t want you to call Me dad. You had a dad and I’m not him. I’m not your daddy either. I want you to call Me something different. I want you to call Me your Papa.”

In that moment, I felt the Lord was honoring my dad’s place in my life, but was calling me to go deeper with Him. The Holy Spirit gave me a safe word to connect with Him better than I ever have. It’s taken me some months to process that revelation, along with my grief; and I’m still learning to live in it. But I do know my time with God is easier and richer than ever. Even as I miss my dad, I feel the peace that comes from the presence of my Papa’the Holy Spirit—as He helps me look back, look around, and look forward.

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, and where there is loss, shower me with Your comfort. Thank You for the unprecedented access and privilege of being in Your presence right now. Help me to know how to call You my Abba. I want to feel connected to my heavenly Father through a nurturing relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thought

Does anything hinder you from relating to God as Father? If so, take a few minutes to let the Holy Spirit speak comfort, healing, and peace into you.

Band Discussion

  • What it does it mean to you to have the Spirit of the Son working in your life?
  • Do you think the church operates from the mind-set of a son or an orphan?
  • What would happen if the church shook off any orphan-mind-set-driven operations and lived in our privileges in Christ?