New Wine for New Wineskins March 2014

By , March 1, 2014 6:49 am

Lost In Translation

Romans 8: 15

15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (NKJV)

15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba! Father! (AMP)

Galatians 4: 6

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (NKJV)

6 And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! (AMP)

6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (NLT)

“Lost in translation” literally means a word or phrase which, when translated from one language to another, loses so much of its nuance and/or connotation that its meaning, or the full sense of its meaning, is no longer discernible in the translated form. Figuratively, “lost in translation” refers to a word or phrase, or sometimes even a noun or an action, which, when removed from its original context, can no longer be (fully) understood. This figurative sense is often applied to cultural or sub-cultural artefacts, such as colloquialisms, gestures, fashions and the like.

If the meaning of a word can be lost in translation then a word left untranslated and introduced into another language can cause even more confusion.  For whatever reason the translators chose to leave the Aramaic word for “Daddy” untranslated, and thereby left us with a seriously diminished understanding of the level of intimacy we can now have with Almighty God (who is our heavenly Father).  “Abba” just became another religious word and most of us had no idea what it meant.  I can remember singing it in songs and being clueless of its implications.  Imagine if we had been raised with “Daddy” in our Bibles, and our Sunday School class, and every sermon, and our night-time prayers, etc?

Jesus didn’t say that anyone who had seen him had seen God (although he could have) – he said that they had seen the Father.  He came to reveal the Father.  He actually explicitly said that he would not abandon us as orphans but that the Father’s presence would be with us at all times.

Until we understand Father we will never understand kingdom.  Jesus said that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.  We will struggle with that until we fully accept our Father’s unconditional love for us; the security and comfort (Holy Spirit = the Father with us continually = comforter, counsellor, intercessor, advocate, strengthener, standby) – that he provides for our lives; his praise and affirmation spoken over us; the purpose that he brings to our lives as those engaged in the family business of advancing the kingdom.

There is no question that our Father wants to give us the kingdom, but anything that is given must also be received, and so if we are not experiencing the fullness of the kingdom in our lives then it is always due to our inability (through faulty religious programming) or unwillingness (perhaps through fear or a false sense of humility and unworthiness) to receive.  This is most often caused by either our problems in perceiving God as our Father at all, or is due to underlying issues that we carry as a result of our relationship with our natural fathers.

I was listening to preaching from what was billed as a “revival” meeting being broadcast live on TV a while back and the content of the message set me to thinking.  If you consider that probably the most well-known revival sermon of all time was titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God ” then that title possibly fits or sums up a lot of people’s understanding of what would qualify as “revival” preaching.  However, on the contrary, Jesus gave us an account of the Father’s heart in regard to a wayward and rebellious young man that could easily be titled, “Sons in the Arms of a Loving Father ”.

As I watched the TV preacher I realised that up until not so long ago I would probably have given a loud “Amen” in response to such preaching, and yet now I was struggling to continue listening.

You see, there is a culture of “revivalism” that has developed over hundreds of years in the church and so like every other cultural expression it can be very difficult to break free from it.  Several years ago the Lord said to me, “You must break out of the cultural mores (the customs and conventions embodying the fundamental values of a group or society) if you are going to enter into the more of the kingdom”.

If we are still locked into a culture of “revivalism” there will be at least a part of us that says  “Amen” to preaching that is more in line with sinners in the hands of an angry God.  However, if we have broken out of the “revivalism” culture and into kingdom culture we will be more likely to say “Amen ” to preaching that is more akin to sons in the arms of a loving Father.

Please understand that I am not speaking against revival per se, but rather I am seeking to  encourage a revival of kingdom culture where there is a greater emphasis upon what it means to be a son in the arms of a loving Father than on what it means to be a sinner in the hands of an angry God.

We are kingdom people.  But if we are living in the kingdom and yet we are still not experiencing the fullness of kingdom life that includes the fullness of protection and provision that is being freely given to us, then I want to try and help us to resolve some father issues that may be hindering us from receiving.

There are several father-types that we are going to look at so please allow the Holy Spirit to help you identify any underlying problems (hurts, wounds, etc) that may be at the root of your inability to receive or retain what is being freely given to you by your heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally.  Remember also that there may be some cross-over between the different types, and so we shouldn’t be too rigid in identifying with one type only.

The Good Father

Even having had a good father can hinder us because good doesn’t equal perfect.  Every good and perfect gift comes from our father in heaven who never has mood swings or forgets his commitment to love us unconditionally and be everything we need him to be whenever or wherever we need him to be.  Even good fathers can sometimes break
promises, etc and so our expectation in regards to our heavenly father must exceed the goodness demonstrated by our natural father no matter how good he was. One broken promise is enough to create a major wound in the heart of a child that can leave scar tissue that hardens them to the promises of their heavenly Father.  Our natural fathers – even the best of them – couldn’t be there to protect us and stand up for us all the time and some of these childhood experiences have left us with feelings of abandonment and trust issues.

I am fortunate in that my children have all told me at different times that I am a good father but I am well aware of my own failings and so I certainly wouldn’t like to think that their expectation to receive from their heavenly Father would be limited by their experience of my perceived goodness.  We should never equate our heavenly Father’s love or ability to provide security with that of our natural father regardless of how good they were, as our heavenly Father is the one who asks, “How much more? ”

Did you have a good father?  Do you know that you have a perfect Father that wants to be everything to you that your good father was unable to be?  Are you persuaded that he will be there for you at all times, in every situation and circumstance to provide whatever you need whenever you need it?

The Performance-Oriented Father

This father type has high standards and places demands for certain behaviour but is usually short on showing affection and giving verbal affirmation.  The high standards may be in relation to schoolwork, sports, religious observance and church attendance, or demands for unswerving obedience to orders and rules.  He may say, “I love you”, but he also makes you feel his displeasure toward you by condemning your failures.  He may try to motivate you to do right by pointing out your failures instead of giving you praise for what you have achieved.

I can remember my father asking us occasionally to wash the car.  You can imagine how that went.  When we were finished he would point out all the bits we missed and re-do them in a way that made us feel that he thought he would have been better off not involving us at all.

Where there are high standards with no room for failure there will be a wounded child as a result. There will be a lie created in the core thoughts of that child that will negatively impact his adult relationship with his heavenly Father.  The lie says, “I only belong and am loved and accepted for what I do and how well I do it!”

Sadly, this scenario can be very common in Christian homes and particularly in the homes of Christian leaders.  We have all heard of PK syndrome.  I was a PK and my children are PK’s.  These homes are too often performance-oriented and the parents are rarely aware that it is actually the case.  The lie that we have to perform well to earn God’s love and approval drives the family to try and earn his love by striving to dress right, act right, speak right, and do right.
The truth is that we can come to our heavenly Father as a little child who has nothing to offer him but our need for his love and comfort.  Because our heavenly Father’s love for us is unconditional then the reality is that there is nothing we can do to cause him to love us any more than he already does, and there is nothing we can do that will cause him to love us any less.

Were you negatively affected by being raised in a performance-oriented environment? Do you carry hidden pain or unresolved conflict at the core of your being as a result?  Do you feel that your heavenly Father is really only pleased with you when you are praying enough, reading and studying your Bible enough, witnessing enough, and diligently crossing every religious ‘t’ and dotting every religious ‘i’ ?  If so, then you have developed a faulty belief that performance is necessary in order to attain intimacy with God.

Is your motivation for pursuing a deeper relationship with God the result of always feeling as though you are falling short of his standard?  Do you battle with self-imposed guilt and self-condemnation and feeling like God is accusing you and pronouncing you guilty?

Do you battle fear of failure, rejection, and the fear of what people think about you?  Do you struggle to be at rest in your heavenly Father’s presence and to simply be still and rest in his love?

Is your relationship with God based on religious activity and spiritual ambition so that you strive to become more spiritual and to be included among those who are recognised for their spiritual maturity or gifting?

Do you focus more on the scriptures that speak of truth, righteousness, and judgement than those that speak of love, forgiveness, compassion and grace?  Do you tend to be critical of others who are not as disciplined as you are, or are you quick to write off others who don’t think like you or perform up to your expectations?

Remember – nothing you do or don’t do will make your heavenly Father love you any more or any less than he does already!

The Passive Father

The passive father is not actively involved in the life of his child.  He is usually so self-absorbed that he is basically oblivious to your needs.  He doesn’t celebrate your successes or commiserate with your failures.  You probably rarely if ever experience any kind of intimacy with him because he is unable to share his feelings or display any interest in yours.  He is usually unemotional, and unable to play with you or laugh with you.  Again, he may occasionally say the words, “I love you”, but you find it hard to believe because he never spends any quality time with you or displays any affection, never gives verbal affirmation, and you never experience emotional intimacy with him.  This father type is
usually caught up in his own life, and is quite possibly a workaholic, alcoholic, a military man, or sadly, a minister.

Are you still carrying any hidden core pain or unresolved conflict from a passive father?

Do you have difficulty believing that God is interested in, and actively  involved in the everyday affairs of your life?  Does he seem far off and impersonal to you?  You might know that God loves you, but you have no expectation that he would want to demonstrate his love to you personally in a practical or tangible way?

Do you struggle to experience the manifest presence of God during worship, ministry times, or personal times with him? Do you find it difficult to tune into the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as he comes to guide and direct you?  Perhaps the motivation towards character change does not come easily to you as you are often not even aware of your need for healing and transformation.  Is your relationship with God based more upon duty than a personal experience of his love?  Do you often grow weary of trying to maintain your Christian walk or experience?

The Absentee Father

This father type was not there for you or was not involved in your life due to divorce, death, abandonment, or outright rejection.  You may believe that you have forgiven him to the best of your ability but you still struggle with a great void of fatherlessness which you are not even personally aware of.  It manifests in the emptiness of feeling like a spiritual orphan – feeling like you never have a safe place, a protector, someone you can go to for comfort, affection, security and affirmation.

Do you still carry the hidden core pain or unresolved conflict resulting from an absentee father?  Do you struggle with intimacy and, and is life for you very serious and intense?  Do you have a fear of getting too close to God incase he abandons you?  Do you feel neglected by God and think he is much more interested in others than in you?  Does this make sensing the loving presence of God difficult for you?

Do you lack faith for God to provide for your needs, so you have developed a life of independence self-reliance that has led to aggressive striving and an intense feeling of inner loneliness?  Do you carry hidden guilt and blame yourself for your father leaving?  Does that hidden guilt lead to you performing to try and earn love and acceptance in your relationship with God and yet you always feel as though you fall short – leading to an increase of guilt?  Or have you gone to the opposite extreme and so you have no motivation or desire toward God at all?

If your father died there can often be hidden anger against your father for abandoning you, and so it can be helpful to pray out loud to forgive him for leaving you when you needed him so much.  There can also be hidden anger at God for not saving or protecting your father’s life.

According to statistics the absence of a father during childhood can have a serious negative impact on a person’s life.  Father-deprived children make up 72% of all teenage murderers, 60% of rapists, 70% of kids locked up in correctional institutions, are twice as likely to quit school, are 11 times more likely to be violent, make up 3 out of 4 teen suicides, 80% of the adolescents in psychiatric hospitals, and 90% of runaways.

It is so important that everyone is restored to healthy relationship with their heavenly Father and rescued from the devastating effects of fatherlessness.

The Authoritarian Father

This father type is a legalist and there is very little room for love in law!  He majors on truth and the letter of the law but has very little ability to express compassion, mercy, grace, tenderness, patience or love.  He may be tender and kind with those outside of his own household, but is rigid and unyielding with his own children.  He doesn’t let you develop your own individuality or think for yourself.  He is unable to be interested in your desires and goals – only his own.  He is more comfortable with obedience and truth than with love and intimacy.  It’s not that he doesn’t love you, but he doesn’t know how to express that love, and so there is very little emotional bonding.

There are several ways that you may struggle in your relationship with God if you are still carrying core pain or unresolved conflict from an authoritarian father.

Is your image of God similar to that of your natural father and so you believe that God is harsh and impatient with you, and that he is ready to judge every mistake that you make?  Has this led to an unhealthy fear of God that hinders intimacy with him?  Do you have such a fear of failure that you end up in self-denial and self-deception?  Do you blame others when things go wrong, because to admit any fault on your part would mean that you are deserving of harsh treatment?

Is your relationship with God built on the Christian disciplines, but you struggle with intimacy and loving relationships?  Do you read the Bible and focus on all of the verses concerning holiness and righteousness, but brush past the ones that speak of grace, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness?  Are you intolerant of other Christians who don’t think like you, lacking grace for their weaknesses and faults?

Is your witnessing, teaching, or preaching based more upon judgement than upon love, mercy, and grace?

The Abusive Father

This father type inflicts deep emotional pain by means of physical abuse (which may come from harsh, unjust punishment or beatings); emotional abuse (that may occur from harsh and fearful tones of voice, devaluing words, demeaning looks, or from failure to meet the basic emotional needs of a child for expressed love, security, praise and purpose); sexual abuse (can occur from any kind of wrong touching or sexual molestation, or from the use of sexually explicit language).

Any kind of abuse from a father figure results in some of the deepest wounds that a child can receive, sexual abuse being the worst.  It destroys your trust in male authority and a healthy image of a loving God.  You are often left with large amounts of repressed anger because of the injustice that life has brought you.  You may feel that you are inherently a bad person and so you deserve to be punished, which causes you to have frequent battles with guilt, unworthiness, and shame.  You may struggle to have any motivation toward the joy of living.  You have possibly found that counseling alone is not enough to bring lasting freedom, and so you may need a supernatural encounter with the love of your heavenly Father in the deepest area of need before you can experience real intimacy with him.

Are you still carrying core pain or unresolved conflict from an abusive father?  Do you find getting close to God very difficult because you are afraid of being punished again.  Even though you have tried praying enough, reading enough, and doing all of what you have been told are the right things you are still left feeling guilty because you don’t seem to be able to connect with God in the way that others claim to.

Do you feel that God is always angry with you and is looking for any reason He can find to make life hard on you?  Are you angry with God for not protecting you from an abusive father – not realising that satan was behind your childhood pain and not God?   Is it very difficult for you to believe that God loves you?  You may even be thinking wrong thoughts like, “If God really loved me he would have given me a different father”.

Do you struggle continually with self-condemnation and a sense of shame that causes you to feel too unclean to approach God?  Do you find it very difficult to relate in a healthy way to spiritual authority in the church?  Because you reject fathering relationships you feel fatherless within church structures and so spiritual growth is a slow process for you.

And so how does healing come?  Jesus said that he was anointed to heal the broken-hearted.  A broken heart is the result of a broken relationship, and so he came to restore the relationship with our heavenly Father that was broken.  Jesus purchased our forgiveness, but he also said that our experience of that forgiveness would be limited if we refused to forgive others.

Psalm 45: 10 – 11

10 Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; 11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.

We begin by being willing to forgive our earthly father for every area in his life where he failed to represent our heavenly Father’s love.  If we are unwilling to forgive, then we may end up getting our identity from the pain and disappointments of our earthly father’s house.

We are innocent of the wounding that we experienced in our father’s house, but we are still accountable for every area of our life that has not gone well as a result of our dishonour (disrespect) toward our earthly father.

Ephesians 6: 2 – 3

2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  

Healing begins when we take personal responsibility for our problems and stop blaming others for them, regardless of how blameworthy they may be.

When we release our earthly fathers and begin to come to our Father God as a little child in need of a father’s love, we will begin to receive increasing revelation of the love of our heavenly Father that is far more powerful than any of the father issues we have carried through life.  He will not ignore our cry for a Father.  We no longer have to surrender ourselves to the pain of the wounds we received in our earthly father’s house,  because our Father God longs for us be at home with him, as he makes his home with us.

John 14: 18

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Why not pray this simple prayer:

Father God, I come to you in Jesus’ name.  Thank you that the door to your house is always open to me and that I do not need to fear your loving presence.  You tell me in Psalm 45: 10 to let go of my identity that is connected to my father’s house so that I can enter into your love.  I come to you as a child in need of your help so that I can release and forgive my father

Now choose to forgive your father for each way that he hurt and disappointed you.  Speak words of forgiveness for each moment of wounding that comes to mind.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any specific memory that still influences your thought life, attitudes, or actions.  Ask your heavenly Father to enter into that situation and bring comfort to the hurting child. Be still and let Father God’s love touch that area.

Lay your natural father at the foot of the Cross and release him.  Lay down the pain, the anger, the bitterness, and the disappointments at the foot of the Cross.  Leave behind you the striving and fear from your earthly father’s house.  Now come through the Cross into your heavenly Father’s house where you are loved unconditionally, protected and provided for, and affirmed continually.

Let’s pray again as we acknowledge our heavenly Father’s presence:

Father God, I have nowhere to go for love but to you.  I know the door to your house is always open.  You said that you would not leave me like an orphan.  I ask you, Father, to come to me now and reveal your love and Fatherhood to me.  I choose to receive you as a Father to me.  I choose to be your child.

Remember – the reason for this message is because until we understand Father we will never understand kingdom.  And our Father so longs to freely give us the kingdom so that we can freely give it away, and so that his kingdom will come and his perfect will be done on earth as it is in heaven until all are saved, healed, and delivered from every manifestation of the curse and released into the fullness of the Father’s blessing – not as sinners in the hands of an angry God but as sons in the arms of a loving Father!

Romans 8: 15

15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba! Father! (AMP)

Galatians 4: 6

6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (NLT)

For some reason the Bible translators decided to leave that intimate name – “Abba” – untranslated, but its true meaning and the experience of all that it includes need no longer be lost to us.  We can come to our heavenly Father as “Daddy” or whatever intimate name we prefer.

Father is a descriptive title, describing the relationship between a male and his offspring, but “Daddy” is his name.  Over the years my children gave me several different items bearing the slogan, “Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Daddy”.

Our heavenly Daddy has promised to be everything that we need him to be whenever we need him to be and he never breaks his promises.

Remember – it is your Daddy’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, so get ready to receive it and be generous in giving it away….

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