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Abba Father

by David A. DePra

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of

God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;

but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba,

Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are

the children of God. (Rom. 8:14-16)

     The term, "Abba Father" is probably one of the most intimate

expressions in the Bible. It is a term of endearment, and really

means, "daddy father." The usage speaks of the love, reliance,

and intimacy of a child to a father.

     Paul twice uses this phrase to express our relationship to God

as our Heavenly Father. (see also Gal. 4:6) Jesus also addressed

His Father in this manner. (see Mark 14:36) Yet how many of us

really and truly think of God as our Father? Unfortunately, most of

us don't -- although we do believe the FACT that God is our Father

in heaven. In practice, however, most of us tend to think of God as

an angry judge who is sitting in heaven eager to punish, and who is

always on the verge of a temper tantrum. In effect, rather than think

of God as a Father to love and revere, we are AFRAID of Him.

     There is a big difference between what the Bible calls "the fear

of the Lord," and the kind of fear most of us have of God. The true

"fear of the Lord" is REVERENCE. I place such a high value and

worth upon God -- which is really LOVE -- that I obey Him, and treat

Him as holy. The wrong kind of fear of God is when I am afraid of

Him. It is based on a false concept of God, and what amounts to

a bunch of LIES about Him.

      One good way to express the difference between the true "fear

of the Lord," and the wrong fear, is that the true fear makes us want

to draw near to God. The false fear makes us want to hide from

Him. By this we can know which dynamic is controlling us.

     The term "Abba Father" leaves us with no room for the wrong

kind of fear of the Lord. It is simply not possible for us to say,

"Abba Father," and to be afraid of the One to whom we are

expressing our love. The two would contradict each other. They

don't even belong in the same sentence.

     Now ask: Would Paul, and Jesus, use such an expression

towards our Heavenly Father if He were the kind of God most of us

have believed Him to be -- a God to be afraid of? No. They

would not. The term wouldn't even be in the Bible with regard to

God. Again, "Abba Father," and the wrong kind of fear, cannot be

referring to the same Person.

     The fact is, many of us have been reading things like this for

years. We agree that God is our Heavenly Father. Afterall, the

Bible says so. And we agree that God is love. But in practice,

well, God doesn't seem like He is love. We just don't feel that way.

In fact, we feel kind of afraid of God. Our emotions, and perhaps

even our thinking, don't seem to jive with what the Bible says.

     Right here is where we must begin to choose WHO to believe.

Do we believe the Truth, or do we believe our emotions and our

reactions? Do we believe Jesus Christ, or do we believe what

our concepts and human thinking tells us?

     Fear can be an awful thing. It can color our thinking and our

perception. It can make things which are absolute lies seem like

they are the absolute Truth -- because fear tends to create a false

reality. Fear -- as it pertains to God -- is a lie.

     God tells us how to handle fear. He says, "Fear not." How does

one, "fear not"? Well, there is only one way: By fearing not. Period.

In other words, you can't wait to you feel unfearful. God isn't going

to act upon you and make you feel unfearful. You must refuse to

fear. And the best way to do this is by filling your mind with the Truth.

     The Truth is, God IS our Heavenly Father. And embodied in the

term, "Abba Father" is a picture of a God into which fear cannot fit.

So if we truly believe this, we must, at some point, begin acting like

it. We must stand in the Truth against all that would come against

it, and cry "Abba Father" in our hearts as children to our Father.*

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