In the journey of giving and receiving love there is never a problem at the Father’s end of the equation. Until we deal with the barriers to receiving that are at our end, perhaps we will never feel comfortable sat around the Father’s table. What do you think are some of the barriers we need to breakthrough to receiving the Father’s love? Perhaps there is a barrier caused by our own good, bad or ugly experiences of earthly fathering or from our encounters with those in positions of authority. Perhaps there is a barrier caused by religious experience, terrible teaching and the fact that we feel we are pawns in the hands of an angry God. Maybe there is a barrier caused by our own experience and circumstances that don’t feel like they reflect the goodness of God right now, and if we are honest the Father’s love feels distant.
Think for a moment of the story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15 as distinct scenes in a film and ask yourself where you are in this picture? Perhaps you are in that place where you are enjoying the Father’s house, and inviting others to join the banquet table? Maybe you are in the scene where you have run away from the Father's house to seek other comforts? Maybe the shame you carry from your time outside the Father's house is causing a barrier today? Maybe the pain and unforgiveness you live with from events on your journey keeps your scene on repeat. Or maybe you are on the road, trapped in the cycle of bargaining as you walk back towards the Father’s house?
Wherever you see yourself in the story, I want to suggest the number one reception issue is caused by our perception of the kind of Father we think we will find when we get to the Father’s house. Who we think the Father is and what response we think we will get from Him when we turn up at his door will determine the quality of our whole Christian walk.
A friend of mine recently said “The reason the world sees the church as so judgmental and condemning is because deep down the church sees the Father the same way. The world doesn’t respond to our message because no matter what we say out loud it is picking up on the unspoken culture of the church. Too many Christians are born again into an orphanage.”
This strong statement floored me and you may not agree with it all. But it does make you think. What if we don’t see the Father for who He really is and what impact is that having on my life? We need to renew our mind with the truth of the word in order to start to clear our lens and change our perspective.
Despite dealing with the very real barriers we face in our journey to receive, my prayer is that as you dwell on the story of the prodigal son and think about the teaching of Jesus on prayer rooted in being fathered that you will find fresh hope that we can still come in spite of all these things and declare those powerful words that can change everything…. “Our Father.”