As we mentioned in last weeks post you lack a spiritual father in your life because you don’t know how to be a good son. If you haven't checked out parts 1 & 2 of Why You Need A Father check them out here first and then come back....
Father’s aren’t perfect but neither are sons. In the Bible, God is pictured as a great father and He has 2 sons (Luke 15:11-31). The youngest son wants to live on his own terms and decides he doesn’t need his father. He asks for what he deserves without the honor of the father. He wants the reward of the father without the relationship. The son chooses to be fatherless and it leaves him penniless. He returns still not wanting to be a son because he feels he doesn’t deserve it. But a true father never leaves a son. The Father celebrates his son’s return with a genuine celebration and continued investment into his future as always being part of the father’s household. As he learned, the reward and the relationship of having your father in your life cannot be separated. Submission leads to commission. Regard to your father leads to the reward of your father.
Let’s talk about the older son. Even though he stayed in the presence of home and of his father...he wasn’t really present. He didnt seem to understand the heart of his father. He didn’t know the important matters of his father. For example, he didn’t understand the joy of his father when the younger son returned. He was working in the house but not wanting to be there. A son who is in proximity but not truly present is just as removed as the younger son. A son celebrates what his father celebrates. A son rejoices in what his father rejoices. His actions were that he was home but his heart was far from it.
The mark of a good son is just just being with the father but taking responsibility as family. Jesus talks about the attribute of a good son is being an owner. Taking responsibility for you and your actions when you need to. Jesus talks about ownership and being responsible below:
“A man runs because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep…just as the Father knows me and I know the Father so I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” John 10:12-15
A true son cares for what his father cares about. My dad gave me his car to use for the night. In MN it doesn't take much to put a Mazda in the ditch after a snowstorm. It was late when I got home and I went to bed. My dad woke me up early and asked me right away, "where's my car?" I told him it was in the ditch and that he would have to get it out because I couldn't. He proceeded to tell me what I should have done to fix my problem and get his car and not make it his problem. Needless to say, I didn't use the car for a while because it wasn't owning our car, i was borrowing his. I realized that day that owning my choices and being responsible is what good sons do.
My son looks like me. We had blonde hair when we were younger and it’s slowly getting darker the older he gets. We both have great eyes (just ask my wife…she’ll tell you). We can bend our toes the same way. We act like each other…sometimes. But not all the time, because he does do things that do not reflect me. Their are times when my son wants to eat 6 oreos before dinner (I eat broccoli as a snack always before dinner-ok, I only eat 2...dang, that's a bad habit). My son cries when he doesn’t get what he wants. Their are times when my son punches his sister. When he stubs his toe, he cusses like a sailor (wait that's me...just kidding I fake swear with 'that freaking hurt'...most of the time). Their are times he doesn’t want to contribute to the house but lay around all day and play his latest LEGO wii game. My goal as a father is to not let my son continue in these bad habits but to steer him into good habits. Each moment I have I am making him someone who is responsible, honest, loving, kind, healthy, strong and trustworthy. Because that’s what fathers should be. My goal isn’t to raise a grown 6 year old but to raise up a future father. That’s what good fathering does…he wants his son to be an example of him.
Jesus said about being a Son in a world that is looking for a Father,
7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” John 14:7-9 NLT
Being a good son is a reflection of the father. God did not send a father into the world but he sent his son that's why being a son is one of the most special things to become because being a son reveals the father. Jesus said If you see Him, the son, then you see the father (I John 2:23). There are passages of Scripture where Chrsit is acknowledging himself as a Son. These moments are significance because it is revealing specific attributes about faith and Kingdom in the Bible in the context of Christ’s identity of “Son." Christ in the context as a son reveals to us:
+ Salvation John 3:16
+ True life 1 john 5:12
+ Rest for the weary Matthew 11:25-30
+ Authority of Heaven Luke 10:18-22
+ Complete freedom John 8:36
+ Walking on Water Matthew 14:31-33
+ Dominion John 3:35
+ Honest Matthew 16:16
+ Purpose in people John 1:47-49
+ Reconciliation Romans 5:10
+ Jesus true nature Luke 9:35
+ The only way to heaven john 14:6-13
+ God is all in all 1 corinthians 15:28
+ Jesus authority in heaven Luke 22:66-71
+ Eternal Life 1 john 5:13
+ God is in you 1 John 4:15
All of these are attribute of who God is. Christ as a Son reveals the true nature of our Father God. We know the love, compassion, favor, forgiveness, mercy and grace of of our Father God because of Jesus the Son.
The beauty of being a son is the you are the recipient of a favor that is being passed on. Blessings are not stagnant but travel through generations from son to son. They start with fathers and then are passed on to their sons so that their sons become fathers and pass them on as well. Fathers don’t see themselves as achieving something but advancing someone. A son is an expression of a father’s achievement that lives far beyond him. Abraham is promised a blessing that is passed on from generation to generation to generation (Genesis 26:4). God’s definition of who He is, is found by who lives on beyond him as sons. Sons are the extension and expression of God’s promise!
That’s the difference … a true son doesn’t stop at imitation. Jesus said, "If you see me you see the Father” (John 14:7-9). But a few verses later, Jesus also knows being a son it not just imitation but it’s impartation:
“You will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has my command and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14: 20-21
Impartation says that it goes beyond what you do but it sits deeper in you with who you are. It’s revelation that moves someone to put a “part” of themselves “in” the one they are relating to. In the Bible, it’s about a deep transformation that can only be done by God and for God. Paul knows this in Scripture as a spiritual father to many. He says, “I long to be with you so I can impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong when we get together to encourage you in your faith.” Romans 1:11-12. It’s not just about information (knowledgeable moments with your father) and it’s not just about imitation (repeatable actions of your father) but it’s also about impartation (encounters with your father that live beyond you).
I think that’s the difference between passing a baton or a torch as a father to a son. Passing the baton to the generation coming after you is a good metaphor but stops short because once it’s passed, the one running with it stops and the the other starts and continues running. One runner powers down and shuts off while the new carrier powers up and goes for it leaving the one running prior in the distance. But passing a torch means you "stay lit" and shine to continue to light fires elsewhere. In this context, the fire of the father continues to burn as his son receives the fire that he has they both transfer the fire to others. That’s what happens in movements. Both old and young working together to impart something beyond themselves to transform others. In essence the son is imitating the father as he ignites others which is what the father did for him.
Fathers need sons. But more importantly, sons need fathers.
Who is your father in the faith?