Many of you reading this don’t know me, since this is only my second time being a guest writer, but I have recently moved across the country to be a missionary in Las Vegas. I absolutely love my job and have seen the Lord move in incredible ways since being here. However, I have days that are touched by homesickness, naturally. One of those days, I called my parents' house and got the answering machine. In the middle of leaving a sad little message, my dad picked up the phone and said, “LIA!!!” It was as though my heart was able to rest as soon as I heard his voice. I no longer wanted to cry - I actually started laughing! Simply because I heard my father’s voice.
The first place we see the name Abba in Scripture is Mark 14:36, when Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Abba is the Aramaic term for father. One source even said that it was often one of the first words a child would speak in that time - like "Dada."
Many of the Old Testament names for God help us understand who He is in His greatness and power and help us cultivate a healthy fear of God, but Abba does something unique. Abba invites us into a level of intimacy that is hard to even imagine could be available. Romans 8:15 declares over us that, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” I think often we brush past this, but this changes EVERYTHING.
A friend recently told me that while he was praying, the Lord spoke something incredible to him - “Slaves seek assignments; sons seek inheritance.” Being a son means that I am a co-heir with Christ, and Paul tells us that we have “unsearchable riches in Christ!” He isn’t holding out on us! He lavishes His love, His goodness, His Spirit, His gifts, and all that He has upon us!
So what does this mean in worship?
This name invites us into freedom.
I was recently at the beach, and I sat as close to the water as I could without getting wet. There was a family to my left with several little children, including a little girl. She would run to the waves, close enough to touch them, and then run away. She ran and hid right behind her father! Her parents laughed and told her that it was okay. The Lord nudged my heart in that moment and reminded me that her parents weren’t mad at her; they weren't frustrated that she didn't just dive in! She had freedom to try new things, to fail, to try again, to try something new, and freedom just to be fully herself.
We have freedom in front of our Abba. The pressure to perform is OFF. The pressure to be put together is OFF. The pressure to be anything other than His child is wiped away. We have freedom to crawl up into Abba’s lap and cry or dream or simply rest. He yearns for intimacy with His children. Not dressed up perfected versions of His children - He wants us just as we are, broken and messy, but clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
In Hebrew culture, adoption could never be undone; you could not disown a child you adopted. Nothing will ever change our identity as sons and daughters of our Abba. Nothing will ever change our Abba’s heart toward us. We can rest in His arms - pursued and purchased, safe and sound, fully known and fully loved.
My challenge for you this week is so simple, yet so important. I want to simply challenge you to ask Abba to show you His heart. When His heart is revealed, you will see his unmeasurable love and plans for you. His thoughts toward you are so so good. Ask Him what they are! You will not be disappointed.
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