How Well Do You Understand Christianity?

Father and Son

Father and Son

Did you ever come across one of those quotes that made your draw drop? You know the kind I’m talking about. You read it, and read it again, and then realize that drool is leaking from the corner of your mouth because you’re staring and your mouth is hanging open. I recently had one of those moments when reading J.I. Packer’s classic book, Knowing God. Packer writes:

If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.

Does the thought of God as my Father control my whole outlook on life? Do I see every circumstance, every trial, every joy, and every sorrow through the lens of God as my father? No, I don’t.

I often worry about my little girl, Charis. Will she be healthy? Is she developing properly? Will she live a long life? How would all these fears and worries change if the thought of God as my loving, caring father controlled my outlook on life? If I was regularly aware that the God of the universe calls me ‘son’, what would happen to my worries? Most of them would probably evaporate.

I’m often a legalist. When my spiritual ‘performance’ suffers, and I miss devotional times and pray weak, half-hearted prayers, I feel distant from God. If I was keenly aware of God’s intense, fatherly love for me, demonstrated most clearly on the cross, what would happen to my legalism? Legalism would be replaced by joy.

Aren’t you glad that God is your father? The God who made you calls you ‘son’ or ‘daughter’, and we call him ‘Father’. I want to see life through the prism of God as Father.

What about you? Does the thought of God as Father control your outlook on life?

+photo by *Solar ikon*


  • Wow! I’m drooling…that quote is amazing. A lot of food for thought. Sadly, no I don’t constantly live with the thought that I’m a daughter of the King. I need to. Life would be so gloriously different if I did. Thanks Stephen! Fantastic post!

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    YellerDaisies – I’m so glad that you found it helpful. You’re right, life would be so gloriously different if all of it was lived in light of God as Father…

  • Marshall says:

    No, I’m guilty too.

  • I should think about this more often, as well. I’m having a lot of problems in every situation of my life right now and it’s really hard to deal with. I’m just praying that things will be sorted out before I leave for college in August…

    I know God can work things out, but I just don’t know if He’s going to do it on my time and that’s really hard to deal with. So, maybe thinking of him as my ‘Father’ will help calm my worries and my fears.


  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Bee –

    I think seeing every situation through the lens of God as our caring Father really does affect how we feel about the situation. When I’m aware that God is my Father and that he cares for me, it puts my troubles into perspective. They are really hard and difficult to deal with, and yet God is caring for me through all of them.

  • emily says:

    i’m so grateful that my Heavenly Father loves and cares. otherwise, life would seem quite hopeless at times.

    i pray for the day when i will live each day, empowered by His strength, looking to Him as my Father.

    i look forward to that day in hope, realizing that He has promised to complete what He’s begun in me, and that He’ll never leave me as an orphan.

    Having a Father, an Advocate and a Comfortor is truly a sweet thing, isn’t it?

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