Our Nurturing Father
What do you imagine our heavenly Father does each day? Perhaps create, reign, control, or judgecomes to mind. Most people probably wouldn’t add the verb nurture to their list. But they should. Nurture, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to supply with nourishment; to educate; or to further the development of.”
Scripture reveals a God who is a tender Parent, gently nudging us towards maturity in Christ. Let’s look at some of the ways the Father nurtures believers.
A. God nurtures us by comforting us when we are troubled.
We serve a God who comforts the depressed and gives supernatural peace to those who feel troubled
(2 Cor. 7:6).
- How does worldly peace differ from what Jesus offers (John 14:27)?
- What is one practical way believers can experience God’s comfort (Ps. 119:50)?
- If you have a special need for supernatural comfort or peace in your life, stop and ask God to provide it.
B. God nurtures us through His tender care.
Often we think of the Lord as having the qualities of a good father. Did you know He also cares for us as tenderly as a mother (Isa. 49:15)? Jesus demonstrated a similar attitude towards the hurting people of His day (Matt. 9:36).
- How does it make you feel to know that God has compassion on you (James 5:11)?
- In what areas of your life do you especially need God’s compassion and mercy?
- Some people believe in God, but see Him as distant and uninvolved with humanity. How doesMatthew 10:28-31 disprove this idea?
C. God nurtures us by providing for our needs.
Throughout Scripture, our Father displayed His ability and desire to meet the needs of His people.
- How did God care for the Israelites in the wilderness (Neh. 9:15, 21; Ps. 78:24)?
- What did Jesus promise that the Father will supply if believers seek God first (Matt. 6:30-33)?
- Think about the challenges you will face today. How can you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?
- What does God promise those who wait on Him (Isa. 40:29-31)?
Remember, waiting on God isn’t passive. It includes seeking Him, worshipping Him, and searching Scripture for revelation.
D. God nurtures us through personal instruction.
Several verses in the New Testament indicate that the Lord Himself desires to teach every believer.
- What is one function of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26)?
- What did God teach the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:9)?
- Why did John say the believers didn’t need to rely on a teacher (1 John 2:27)? (Note: “The anointing” here refers to the Holy Spirit, who indwells each believer.)
These verses don’t mean we should stop learning from gifted preachers. However, our Maker also desires to teach us intimately and personally.
- Do you have spiritual issues that need direction, instruction, or guidance from the Holy Spirit? Write your questions here and trust Him to reveal the answers in His timing.
E. God nurtures us through encouragement.
Unlike some authority figures, God never tries to motivate us through shame, criticism, or conditional acceptance. Instead, He directs our attention to who we are in Christ, our positive traits and abilities, and our unique role in His plan.
- What is one of the primary ways the Lord encourages us (Rom. 15:4)?
- What does Peter say should be our motivation for growing in the faith (1 Peter 2:1-3)?
- According to 1 Peter, what causes us to mature spiritually?
F. God nurtures us through loving discipline.
One final way God parents us is by correcting us when we are deliberately sinning. He may allow us to experience hardship, failure, or disappointment. Or He may simply allow us to get “caught.” ReadHebrews 12:4-11, then answer the following questions:
- Why should believers not lose heart when God disciplines them (vv. 5-6)?
- What purpose does God have for disciplining His children (v. 10)?
- What does discipline ultimately yield (v. 11)?
- Do you think you are in a season of divine discipline? Why or why not?
Closing: Far from being a distant, uninvolved God, our Creator wants to be intimately connected with our lives. Allow Him to demonstrate His kindness, care, and correction; then, watch His Spirit revolutionize your life.
Prayer: Father, thank You for caring about the smallest details of my life. Forgive me for trying to live as a believer in my own strength. Teach me to surrender each day to Your Spirit and to learn to trust You as a loving Parent. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.