All of our kids to his point have said dada before mama, and Kylie has been holding out hoping that Finley will say her name first. But ever since last night...Finley has repeatedly said dada. It is the most precious thing in the world when your children finally come to know you and call on you as their dada. Well...have you ever stopped to consider how incredible it is that we can call upon God as "Abba, Father"? We don't just have any relationship with him, we have come to know him and have the most intimate relationship possible with him as his children.
What if I told you that God could be seen in the most ordinary things every day?
What if I told you that everyday, ordinary events could teach us extraordinary eternal truths?
Would you believe me?
Hi, I’m BJ Sipe – and you’re listening to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast.
I am a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father.
Thanks for tuning in!
There is something really, really special about the baby stage. Don’t get me wrong, every stage is special with our children. I have loved watching my oldest little girl Ava become a not so little girl anymore, who is almost 5 now. She is starting to spell, write, and impresses us every day with her generous and thoughtful heart. I have loved watching my son come into his own personality, who just turned three. He is daring, exciting, strong, and absolutely all boy. Watching them grow is one of the greatest privileges of our lives. But our youngest daughter, Finley, is very much still in the baby stage. For starters, she is the smallest of all our babies. She is 6 ½ months old and still just weighs 13 pounds. She’s still got the baby stretches, the baby giggles, and the baby open mouth sleep face. While her coordination is starting to really grow, we have now entered the most exciting phase for me – her first words. Now some of them don’t really count, like for example, she says “hi” but I’m not exactly sure it’s intentional all of the time. For me it has to obviously be intentional – where you see them thinking about it and then say the word that is associated with the thing they’re looking at…or the person they’re looking at! Kylie and I have had this ongoing feud with whose name Finley will say first, mine or hers. Up to this point, all of our children have said, “dada” first before “mama” – so Kylie has been holding out hope that the third time would be the charm for her. Well, that was until yesterday. I was laying next to her, singing her favorite songs, and I started in with my encouragement – “Can you say dada? Say dada,” to which she looked at me, and through the fingers she had shoved in her mouth she whispered, “dada” as clear as day. I was so, so excited! I proceeded to ask her to say it again, which she did two more times! Kylie couldn’t believe it – and of course I couldn’t get Finley to do it again in front of her so she said I must have been making it up, and that she wouldn’t believe it until she heard it. Well all that changed tonight – we had gotten the kids down and Kylie was getting ready to go rock Finley to sleep. From across the room she turned her towards me in her arms and said, “Can you say goodnight to dada?” Finley looked over in my direction, and after locking her eyes in on me and seeing me wave, got the biggest grin on her face and said, “dada” right there for both of us to hear. My heart just leapt inside of me! She knows who I am! She knows dada! Poor Kylie – maybe in the future if we go the route of adoption like we hope to then she’ll get her opportunity. But for now, I reign supreme with all three of our children – each said dada first! All playful feuding and jokes aside, when your child says “dada” or “mama” for the first time – it is one of the most special moments that you will never forget. My oldest children say, “mommy” and “daddy” all the time – but when a baby says it for the first time, it’s different. They’re not saying it because they are asking for a snack or because they have a question or the million other reasons my kids say “daddy” like a broken record. When a baby says your name, it’s because they are finally coming to understand who you are. The love and affection behind their little baby faced grins when they say it just melt your heart.
All of this got me thinking about some things that Paul writes about pertaining to our relationship with God as his own children. There are two passages specifically that came to mind. The first is in Romans, and the second is in Galatians. Let’s begin with Romans 8:14-17, “For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” We read a very similar passage in Galatians 4:4-9, “When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir. But in the past, since you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elements? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?” There is a term there that is repeated in both that many of us might be unfamiliar with, because it is not an English word. That is the term, “Abba” that was cited twice by Paul. What does this mean, to cry out, “Abba, Father”? If you’re like me, you might have grown up hearing something to this effect: abba means “daddy” in Aramaic. But is this true? While many scholars do agree that abba reflects perhaps the language that would often be used between that of a child and a father, this misses the beauty of what is being seen here. (Side note – if I hear one more person refer to the Lord as “daddy God” in a prayer, I might just have to lay hands on them, and I’m not talking about the Holy Spirit. I’m kidding…but seriously. Stop it.) So, what exactly is meant by abba? Well, it is a term that reflects both intimacy and relationship. It is not merely a proper name that can be said by anyone – much like your first name – but it is a much more familial and intimate title. For example – anyone can call me by my name, BJ – but only my children can call me dada. That name carries significant weight with it, doesn’t it? As their father, they are my very own children. As their father, they are dependent upon me. As their father, they are a part of my household and share my name. As their father, they share a much closer and intimate relationship with me than anyone else – they truly know me. Go back to what Paul was saying in the context of these letters, and understand how significant this is regarding our relationship with God. Anyone can call him God or by his name…but only those who have been adopted as sons & daughters can call him, “Abba, Father!” As his children, we are dependent upon him. As his children, we are a part of his own spiritual household and share his name. As his children, we share a close and intimate relationship with the creator of this universe…we truly know him. And here is the most incredible part…all can come to know him in this intimate way if they seek him. John writes in his gospel, “But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13-14) If you believe in him, and are born again of God…you to are given the right to become a child of God. You too can call upon him as, “Abba, Father” and become a part of his own family if you submit to Christ and obey the gospel today. As for the rest of you listening, who already have this incredible relationship with our creator, lets conclude with these powerful and encouraging words in 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and so we are!”
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Wednesday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for future announcements or even some special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, share it with someone else that you think would benefit from it also. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.