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‘Abba’ may be about family

Credit: Yu Wei Lin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Yu Wei Lin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Family is family. In the end its importance supersedes everything including a job. Some can spend hours at work, but on their death-bed regret that they did not spend more time with their family.

The Bible is clear. Salvation comes through faith that Christ died for our sins. But God wants more than just belief, He wants believers to truly identify as a child of God.

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:16 NASV)

The word Abba, was a term of endearment, probably more closely translated in English as “Daddy.” Though this is the relationship that God desires to have with us, how many Christians truly look upon God as their “Daddy?”

This was a relationship that Jesus had with His Heavenly Father. As we see in Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was His “Abba” relationship, that helped Jesus endure the crucifixion.

36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36 NASV)

Though many Christians acknowledge the Biblical statement that we are sons and daughters of God, how many truly believe it? For many there is an invisible barrier that prevents them from developing the “Daddy” relationship that our Heavenly Father desires to have with us.

According to a study conducted by Baylor University, breaking through that barrier makes a big difference in a person’s sense of well-being.

Their study found that older people who have a strong “attachment” to God not only have a more optimistic view on life, but they believe they are truly forgiven and have a higher sense of self-worth. In the end this produces a “higher life satisfaction.”

The researchers asked 1,024 people aged 65 and over a series of questions with a four choice response ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

This included questions on whether the person felt they were forgiven by God or if they needed to change things in their life to receive God’s forgiveness. The researchers referred to this as “transactional forgiveness,” where a person has to do something to receive God’s approval.

Those who had a strong attachment to God felt more forgiven while those with less attachment struggled to feel forgiven. The study noted that a person’s attachment to God was not based on how often they prayed or even attended Church services, because these can be “transactional” as we try to gain God’s approval.

I believe the attachment to God described in the report is the “Abba” relationship that God desires to have with us. Believing Christ died for your sins, does not automatically mean that we look upon God as our Heavenly “Abba, Father.”

Lead author Blake Victor Kent wrote:

“Beliefs about forgiveness and perceptions of relationship with God go hand in hand. This is not just about religious practice, such as attending religious services or praying, which a lot of research already addresses. This deals with how people perceive their quality of relationship to God.”

Unfortunately the barrier that hinders us from moving into a closer relationship with our “Abba, Father” may in part be due to a broken relationship with our earthly parents.

If their love for you was conditional based on how well you behaved or if they were distant, even divorced, this can impact your relationship with God.

To break through this barrier into an “Abba” relationship with our Heavenly Father may require you to forgive your earthly parents.


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