It all begins with God — what we think about God shapes what we think about ourselves and those around us and our world. It begins with God.
James Bryan Smith, in The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series) , helps us think about this.
God is trustworthy.
“The God Jesus reveals would never do anything to harm us. He has no malice or evil intentions. He is completely good. … I can trust God” (56).
But many of us have a false narrative: he tells the story of folks growing up under God-teaching about repenting before it is too late as a constant approach to how God relates to humans and this world. That God is not worthy of trust.
Have you experienced the God-Can’t-be-Trusted Narrative? What shapes that narrative? How did it arise? What does it look like?
Smith proposes an alternative narrative. One word sums up the God-narrative of Jesus: Abba, the Aramaic word for “Father.” “The intimate word conveys not a casual sort of familiarity but the deepest, most trustful reverence” (58, quoting CFD Moule).
God as Father according to Jesus defines fatherhood. We need to spend time ridding ourselves of unworthy notions of fatherhood that we attribute to God. In other words, instead of imposing our notion of “father” (male, etc) onto God, we need to impose what Jesus says about God onto what “Father” means and what “fatherhood” means.
The Lord’s Prayer can be used to reshape what we think about God as Father. Here it is and you can ask yourself this question:
What does the Lord’s Prayer tell me about God as Father?
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
This kind of God-Father is trustworthy. How can this narrative help us?
The chp is followed by a discipline of writing down your blessings in life.