Calling God “Abba, Father”
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Because we have been adopted into God’s family, we are privileged to call him “Abba, Father.” The word abba is an Aramaic word, one that was used by Jesus himself and echoed in the earliest Christian community, which spoke Aramaic (a language close to Hebrew). Abba was a word used by children for their father, something like “daddy” or “papa” today. But it was also a term of respect used by adult children for their fathers. Thus the word abba richly expresses our relationship with God. We are dependent upon him like little children. We are free to run to him as children run to their daddies. Yet we also offer God the highest respect and adult love.
Too often Christians put too much weight on only one aspect of what it means for God to be Abba. Some emphasize the “Daddy” meaning of the word, encouraging us in our intimacy and dependence upon God, but neglecting the respect and obedience we owe him. Others major in the “Father” sense of Abba, calling us to live our lives according to his dictates and for his glory. In truth, our Heavenly Father is both “Daddy” and “Father.” The more we grow in relationship with him, the more we will hold together the diverse ways in which he is a father to us.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you call God “Father,” what does this mean to you? How might you have a more complete relationship with God as your Abba?
PRAYER: Gracious God, my Abba, what an extraordinary privilege it is to call you Father. How grateful I am that Jesus has invited me into his relationship with you. What a wonder that the Son enables me to be your child as well. Thank you, dear Father, for the relationship I have with you through Christ.
Help me, Lord, to grow in this relationship. May I run to you as a young child to his daddy, enjoying your security and embrace. And may I also live my life out of respect for you.
Thank you, dear Father, for the Spirit who helps me to know you as my Abba. What a gift you have given me in the Spirit! Amen.