Summary: 9th message in a series exploring the wonder of God as our loving Father. This message focuses on the fact that God is an affirming Father.
“The Affirmation Factor”
(The Fatherhood of God Pt 9)
If we only had the image of God painted by Nahum, it would be most frightening. Nahum 1:2-6
Fortunately, Nahum’s image of God is not the only image found in Scripture. The Bible employs numerous images to communicate the attributes of the God we worship. One of the most endearing images is “Loving Father.”
I. The Likeness Factor – Dad’s impeccable genes
II. The Unconditional love & acceptance factor–Dad’s incomprehensible love
III. The Protection and security Factor – Dad’s impervious protection
IV. The Presence Factor – Dad’s intimate presence
V. The Wisdom Factor – Dad’s infallible counsel
VI. The Provision Factor – Dad’s inexhaustible provision
All children look to their parents for affirmation, encouragement and acknowledgment. These may be communicated through words or actions or a combination of both.
• Affirmation focuses on who we are not necessarily associated with our performance.
• Encouragement deals with words that encourage us to continue, persevere, pursue dreams, tackle difficult things, try new things, and stretch our comfort zones.
• Acknowledgment acknowledges achievement, faithfulness, skill, completion.
Children look for dad in the stands at the ball game. Children beg dad to watch the cartwheel.
Children long to hear dad say, “Good job!” “I am proud of you!” Children, especially boys, respond to dad’s encouragement to venture out. Boys depend on their fathers to affirm them as men. There are grown men today still looking for someone to affirm them as men. They are waiting for someone to say. “You can do it!” They long for a father to affirm their worth as a person. They want dad to believe in them, be proud of them, and inspire them to chase their dreams.
Absence of such affirmation communicates volumes to a child. I don’t have what it takes. Don’t try anything you are not sure you can handle. You’re on your own. On top of that, our only affirmation oftentimes seemed to be inseparably linked to performance. There was little affirmation for who we are apart from our performance.
Our Christian culture does not have a “rite of passage” so to speak that affirms the transition from boyhood to manhood. We don't have a community of men who affirm young men and mentor them for life. The community of women who teach the younger women is also disappeared in our culture. As a result, we spend our lives searching for affirmation from anywhere we can get it. Women seek their worth by the attention they can draw from men.
Men seek their worth by achieving and the adoration of women.
The soul damage resulting from an absence of affirmation, encouragement and acknowledgment runs deep. It destroys marriages. It perpetuates further damage on our children and our children’s children. It hinders true achievement with pure motives. It collapses relationships. When our sense of worth gets tangled up in our performance or inability to achieve, we live in bondage to others. The obsession to please others, so we can find the affirmation we so desperately desire, drives everything we do.
I am here to proclaim our heavenly father’s affirmation concerning who we are, encouragement to persevere and acknowledgment of our commitment and faithful service.
VII. The Affirmation and encouragement Factor – Dad’s inspiring affirmation, encouragement and acknowledgment
Everyone likes affirmation. We long for affirmation that goes beyond what we do. We appreciate being recognized for who we are as a person. Listen to the Father’s affirmation of Jesus even before He entered ministry. After His baptism the Father publicly affirmed His Son.
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." Matthew 3:17
On the mountain where the glorious nature of Jesus manifested in a phenomenal manner, called “transfiguration”, the Father publicly affirmed Jesus yet again.
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" Matthew 17:5
The Father affirms us as His children through the internal witness of the Holy Spirit.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies (affirms) with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:14-17
This was the personal name Jesus used in His darkest hour of despondency. Mark 14:36
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7