LEARNING TO BE A SON
THE FATHER’S BUSINESS
At the age of twelve, Jesus already knew that He was about the Father. His sojourn in the temple after His parents had set off home, had left the religious sages amazed at His understanding and His questions.
From the beginning of time, God was writing His story, and regardless of the intervention of sin, He continued to write, including the revelation of His mercy to sinners. His story climaxed in the revelation of Himself through His Son. Jesus came to reveal the true nature of the Father and to do His business on earth, to establish His kingdom in the hearts and in the society of His people.
He would restore His wayward people to Himself through His Son’s perfect life and sacrificial death so that, through them His kingdom would come on earth and He would be glorified through His redeemed people and His restored creation.
Since we have explored the meaning of sonship and how we relate to the Father as His sons and daughters, it is time to ask what our role is in His story and how we carry out that role as citizens of God’s kingdom.
God created us to have fellowship with Him and to reign over the earth as His vice-regents. Satan lied to the first pair, convincing them that he was in charge and that he could call the shots. They fell for his ruse and became slaves to his tyranny. Jesus exposed his lie and defeated him at the cross, cancelling our debt and freeing us from slavery to him.
Jesus showed us how to interpret and live in obedience to God’s instructions, contained in the Torah, His directions for living the best life. He also gave us access to the Father so that we can approach Him directly through Jesus, our high priest and no longer through human priests and animal blood.
Prayer is much more than talking to a deity, like pagan so-called “prayer”. True prayer is the right of sons and is our way of communicating with the Father. Why should we communicate with Him? We communicate with Him for fellowship and directions for carrying out our mandate to manage the earth for Him.
Jesus was the model of true prayer. He had fellowship with the Father and received His instructions for carrying out the Father’s will. His testimony was that He obeyed the Father implicitly in everything. He gave His disciples a simple pattern to guide them in their praying – what we call “the Lord’s Prayer”.
He warned His disciples not to model their prayers on the hypocrites who prayed to gain the attention and approval of people, or the pagans who babbled to gain their god’s attention. We are to relate to God as a Father who knows our needs before we ask Him.
His pattern directed His disciples’ attention away from themselves and their needs and problems,and towards the Father who is everywhere and as close to them as their breath. They did not need to inform Him, advise Him or persuade Him to come into their situation. He was already there and fully aware of every detail. They were to recognise that is was God, their Father and the Creator and Ruler of the universe, “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and forgiveness”, to whom they turned. Their primary focus was to be on His kingdom, not on themselves and their needs.
They were to be concerned, first of all with their inner lives and God’s rule over their hearts so that they would be the agents through whom His kingdom would come on earth. Jesus, the living Word, was to be their daily bread, through the written word, feeding and nourishing their souls, like the manna in the wilderness that came from heaven to meet their daily needs.
They were to keep short accounts with people if they wanted to keep short accounts with God and to remember that they were their own worst enemy. They were to recognise and seek God’s strength to overcome the pull of their own selfish and greedy natures.
It was the will of God, above everything else that they were to seek and to do. The first step in knowing God’s will is to give Him complete charge over our bodies (Rom. 12: 1-3) and to renew our minds through the Word so that our lives will measure up to God’s requirements. With bodies and minds under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to discern and approve God’s perfect will.
The purpose of prayer, then, is to have access to the Father so that we can partner with Him in managing the earth for Him and doing His will on earth. Our needs and concerns must fit into His story, not His story be directed by ours.
This is the true nature of a son – to be in submission and obedience to the Father so that we can serve Him and conduct His business on earth.
Summary of the Lord’s Prayer
Abba, Daddy, my source and the one to whom I belong, I turn away from my circumstances and become aware of you. You are here, all around me and as near to me as my breath. I honour you as holy by my words and my life.
May your just and benevolent rule come and may I be a part of bringing heaven to earth by doing your will, not mine, wherever I can and in whatever way I can so that those around me may see you in my life.
Feed me every day on Jesus, the living Bread.
Let me be merciful to those who offend me by cancelling their small debts, just as you have been merciful to me by cancelling the huge debt I owed you.
Do not allow me to be pushed to the limit of my confidence in you either by severe trials or by alluring temptations, because you know how weak I am, and how strong my sinful flesh is.
Save me from the anguish of my own self-destruction.