For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.

-Romans 8:15-17, 1 John 3:1

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Before Jesus saved us, he was God's Son.  We know him as Savior and Lord, rightly so.  But his identity is The Son.  Something really profound, important, and fundamental: of central importance is that He is The Son.

Jesus takes us and makes us children, sons and daughters of the Father, in him.  It is great to get it that he is Savior, Lord, and God; but we can not miss out on the fact and experience that He is The Son and makes us Father's children.

Jesus not only reveals that God is Father, his father, and he is just like his father; and that we worship and serve God who has been revealed in Jesus.  Jesus also brings us into an intimate relationship with Father where we not only are his children, calling him father, but so intimate and open, that we relate to Father as "daddy".

This is The Gospel that you may never have heard.  This is the hidden gift and power and meaning of the Christian life.  God is now your dad.

When we relate to God as dad and daddy, it changes everything.  The way of the world is to not know God and if they have any knowledge of God, they know God as distant.  We Christians know that God is Father and Jesus is The Son, who is just like his dad.

Christians can know all of that, but stop there; and sort of know it "in theory", but not know it in living, in their lives.  The fundamental core of The Gospel is that Jesus came so that we could become Father's children.  When we begin to live in the identity of being children of God, relating to Father as daddy, it changes everything and is the key to the Christian life.

Now, the other part of the issue of being children to our dad; is that we all have had flawed earthly fathers.  We may have had abusive or neglectful fathers.  We may carry a lot of shame from the affect our sinful father had on us.  We may have had no father.

We all had in common the need for fathering and many of us have unmet needs in that area.  Even if our dad was very nurturing, his mission is actually not to be just a great dad, but to introduce his children to Jesus' Father and mentor, train, or teach them to be 'Abba's child' themselves, through Christ.

I believe that the reason that so much of Christianity (Christendom, if you will) does not work, is that Christians by in large, do not have this experience in their living lives, of walking with Abba, Daddy God.  We have somehow bypassed relationship with Father, as sons and daughters; believing in it, 'out there', 'in theory', but not in practice.

This experience is right there in The Lord's Prayer ("Our Father" for some), when we pray:
Our Father, in heaven
Holy be Your name
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven
Jesus gives us permission to call God, his father, our father!  Jesus trains us to pray that God's kingdom would come, here and now, in this time, in our lives, today; bringing heaven to earth.  Did you catch that?

This is the Christian life, prescribed by Jesus.  God is our father and His kingdom is to come, via the prayers of his, children, on the earth, in their lives.  The Christian life is "Daddy" and "Kingdom".

What if our lives were centered or grew from these two themes?  The Fatherhood of God (He is my daddy) and The Kingdom of God.  What if we lived out of those two places and made that what a Christian is?

We all have had earthly fathers and many men are or will be dads to their children.  Jesus came to heal us of all of our hurts and wounds.  We get to be healed, but we may still carry the scars of a painful or neglectful childhood.

Your dad's dad, your grandpa, may have been a poor father to your dad.  My dad's dad, my grandpa, was away, working, when my dad was a little boy.  Grandpa was a godly man and had to go away to work, in order to provide for my dad and my grandma.  This was during The Depression, in the 1930's.

My dad missed out on being fathered and loved by his daddy when he was little.  Unfortunately, my grandma was not there for him either, because she had severe postpartum depression, when he was a baby and little.  Other family members stepped in and helped and my grandma's dad especially reached out to my dad, for the rest of his life.

I found out later, that my dad's dad, my grandpa, had a very poor father, nurturing-wise.  Many of his siblings had died in infancy and his dad's heart became stone-like and shut off to the children who came afterward.  My grandpa was a the younger child who was on the receiving end of the chill of his dad's unresolved grief.

Despite my dad's lack of nurture from his dad, who had lack of nurture from his dad, he was a good dad, to me, especially when I was a child.  He got it, that being father, was the most important thing he did in his life; and he instilled that in us.

I could tell you story after story about how my dad was there and was involved with us, despite his weaknesses.  He was pretty much never too busy.

This song, below, from 1974, is about being a father and how much our children want time with us.  The song teaches, reminds, and brings up the memories.  It was written as a lesson to learn before it is too late.

Our children pick up our good and bad habits.  They really do want to grow up to be like us and they will.  The words were mostly written by Harry's wife, Sandy, from here observations and witness of fathers and sons and being too busy.

This is a story, a sad story, and it might remind you of your story.  But His story redeems or heals our stories.  Feel it and let Jesus heal it.

The Cat's in the Cradle, by Harry & Sandy Chapin

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad; come on, let's play
Can you teach me to throw?"
I said, "Not today, I got a lot to do."
He said, "That's okay."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him."

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then, dad
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired, and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then, dad
We're gonna have a good time then."