Reading Level: Very Impassioned
The characteristics of Father God are deeply moving once one begins to peruse them in their full scope.
This post today is in answer to readers’ questions regarding the characteristics or fatherly traits of God. Some of God’s fatherly traits are like those of a good earthly father; others, though similar, go far beyond an earthly father’s abilities. This lengthy list of God’s fatherly attributes is in no way complete as He describes Himself, for the list would probably be endless. Whether you have had mainly negative experiences with your earthly father, which in turn made it difficult for you to interact with God as your Father, or if you had positive paternal experiences as a child, these traits of Father God will be very healing, emotional, and fulfilling to your mind and spirit.
Loving Continually, Abundantly
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 Jn. 3:1
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jer. 31:3.
Just as a good earthly father, God delights in lavishing His love on us, pouring His love into our lives in generous, plentiful, and even extravagant ways.
As your Heavenly Father, God’s love goes far beyond the capabilities of a human father in that His love is everlasting, never-ending.
Compassionate, Comforting, and Loyal
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. Ps. 103:13
The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…2 Cor. 1:3
For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on those who are afflicted. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget or forsake you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Is. 49:13-16
Just as a good earthly father feels compassionate toward his children-even the more challenging ones-and responds to their needs in compassionate, comforting manners, God says that He will be comforting and compassionate in His responses to His children. God purposely makes a distinction between Himself and earthly parents, admitting that some parents are not good and lack in the normal, paternal devotion; hence, the result of abandoning their children. God says, referring to a mother as an example (as mothers are typically considered by society to be even more devoted than fathers), that even if our own earthly mother (or likewise, a father) would abandon us, He will never abandon us. His loyalty and devotion cannot end, as sometimes happens with earthly parents.
The LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. Deut. 1:31
This is a beautiful visual illustration that God gives us, describing Himself as a father who is literally carrying his son, caring for the son’s every need when he is unable to care for himself. Historically, it refers to God caring for the Israelites every need as He brought them out of 400 years of slavery to a land of their own. But as Scripture tells us that God is no respecter of persons-doesn’t show favoritism (Acts 10:34)-and that all the promises of God are “yes” for those who are in Him (in Christ, 2 Cor. 1:20), He cannot show less care for us than what He has shown to someone else. We can rely on His intimate nurturing of us, especially at times when we are unable to care for ourselves.
Warm, Affectionate, Familial
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father. Gal. 4:6
In this quote, God is describing how He causes His Spirit that lives within us to enable us to cry out to Him as a father, with the sense of intimate closeness, warmth, affection, and complete trust with which a very small child calls out to his parent. “Abba,” is Aramaic and Arabic for “Daddy.” I could not think of a single term to categorize this sentiment, and later discovered while researching the term, Abba, that it is impossible to concisely describe in the English language. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says of the term, Abba, “It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language.” ATS Dictionary describes the term this way, “It expressed the peculiar tenderness, familiarity, and confidence of the love between parent and child.” So we see that God’s Spirit works within us to create, between Father God and us, the same natural bond of affection, trust, warmth, and closeness as exists with small child and its parent. Once we become of aware of this fact, it should enable us to let down our guard and allow God’s Spirit within us to further develop the intimate feelings that are intended to exist between us and Father God.
Perfect for Us and to Us
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. Ps. 18:30
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Mt 5:48
God is a perfect Father. He is not capable of the failings of earthly fathers. The Greek word for perfect, teleios, means, complete in mental and moral character (Strong’s Dictionary of NT Words). Not only are His thoughts and character perfect, but as Ps. 18 says, His ways are also perfect. In other words, God says that His interactions with us are unflawed. This is vital for us to keep in mind. People blame God for so many bad things that happen to them. Does a good parent purposely harm his child? Of course, not. Any parent that does is considered to be mentally and morally corrupt. God informs us that He is perfect; there is no flaw in His character or dealings with us.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father, who does not change like shifting shadows. Jms. 1:17
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Mt. 7:11
As with any good father, God delights in giving to His children, doing things for them that bring joy and excitement to their hearts. God says that only “good and perfect” gifts come from Him. This tells us 2 things: (1) God gives or does things that are considered as gifts from Him to us. (2) He only gives good gifts, again rejecting the theory that evil comes from Father God. In the second quote, God compares Himself to earthly parents to again illustrate His superiority as a parent. We as good, earthly parents love to give good gifts to our children. Even so, we each know that our character, even at its best, is flawed. Since God’s character is flawless, how much more does His heart delight in doing good to us and giving good things to us!
Ps 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
There are countless passages that describe Father God as our protector, such as the ones that refer to Him as our Rock, our Shelter, a shield around us, etc. But this quote is especially beautiful because God remarks that He is particularly concerned and protective of those who are normally neglected by society. As this was written approximately 2500 years ago, it was obviously during a period in earth’s history where the job market was male dominated; neither were there the infrastructures for welfare assistance that are available in financially stable countries now. For the most part, orphans and widows back then were without a source of income and without hope. God describes Himself as the Father/Protector of each person who looks to Him, and particularly those whom society has let fall through the cracks.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6
This quote is part of a prophecy of the birth of Jesus, put to writing about 700 years before Jesus’ birth. Though it speaks of several fatherly traits, such as a counselor (advice-giver) and Prince of Peace (bringing peace to those He is ruling over), I wanted to focus on the term, Everlasting Father. This name of Father God describes His availability. Good earthly fathers try to be involved in their children’s lives, though their continual presence is not possible due to full-time jobs, other responsibilities, and a limited physical life of usually, at the most, 60-80 years. God is our Everlasting Father. He is always with us, always available for us, and will never die.
Disciplines Us for our Good
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good. Heb. 12:7,10
God does disciplines us to develop our spirits and character but He is careful to contrast His discipline of us with that of an earthly father. Notice God says that an earthly father disciplines us the best that he knows how, “but” He disciplines us for our good. His knowledge of the situation and wisdom of how to deal with it are never lacking, so His discipline does always bring about good in us, whereas an earthly father’s discipline may be overbearing, not strict enough, or lacking in wisdom or effectiveness in some other way.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jn. 1:9
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13
Unlike what many of us were taught as children, God describes Himself as faithful to forgive. When we come to Him and confess our failings, He faithfully forgives us. Notice in the second quote, it tells us to be patient with each other and forgive whatever grievances we have against each other because that is the same way God responds with His forgiveness towards us. The Greek for forgive, aphete, means to let go, leave behind, dismiss, or cancel the debt (pg. 1430 FLSB). God is not unforgiving. He does not hold on to bad attitudes toward us when we fail. Just as He tells us to do with each other, when we ask for forgiveness, He “lets it go,” leaving the past in the past.
A Prayer for You
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. Eph. 1:17
I appreciate so much the ReceiveHealing readers bringing this area of interest to my attention. I do pray that God’s Spirit has, as you read this, and will continue to give you wisdom and revelation of the incredible beauty, intensity, and faithfulness of God’s fatherly traits. May the greater knowledge of the characteristics of Father God bring a level of healing, fullness, and completeness to your relationship with Him that you never had before, enhancing your life in ways beyond what you’ve imagined!Print This
Tags: comfort, compassion, emotional healing, Father God, forgiveness, God's love, restoration, spiritual healing, wholeness