One of the many joys of parenthood is seeing your children smile. And no, I’m not talking about them smiling when they discover they can move their tiny hands and feet. I’m talking about them beaming from cheek to cheek when they recognize their father’s face, when they recognize their father’s voice, when they recognize their father’s touch.
That’s the joy I experience on a daily basis. My twins, Jaslyn & Jerome, will both be grinning with excitement when I come home from work; Jerome will be babbling ‘baby-talk’ non-stop whenever he hears my voice; and Jaslyn will always be cooing with satisfaction whenever I give her a tummy massage. And while it melts my heart just to see them smile every day, the joy is really about how they respond when they recognize me, their father.
In the same way, how do we respond when we recognize our heavenly Father’s presence in our lives? I would like to share with us 3 habits that can help us respond rightly.
- A Habit of Thanksgiving
James 1:17 reminds us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. The least we can do when we receive a gift from someone is to say ‘Thank You’. In the same way, if we are able to recognize that the blessings and miracles we encounter day by day is made possible only by God the Father, then the least we can do is to acknowledge God’s expression of grace by giving thanks to Him. These physical blessings and miracles of course pale in comparison to the greatest gift that God has given us – His Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, we should be thanking God for every moment of this new life He has given to us that is made possible through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
- A Habit of Praying
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’. God the Father designed prayer to be a means of communicating with Him, a way of maintaining our relationship with Him as we walk with Him in faith. The question is – do we have the desire to talk to our Heavenly Father; the desire to just simply tell Him about our day; the desire to seek His counsel and wisdom? Prayer is not just a platform for telling God our struggles and shortcomings and hoping that God will solve your problem for you. When we pray, we are telling God that we have a desire for His presence in our life, that we need Him and want to depend on Him.
- A Habit of Loving
1 John 4:7-8 encourages us to love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. When we are able to recognize God’s love in our lives, the rightful way to respond is to then show that same love to others; so that those we minister to can come to know God and love Him. The love that you show can be actual physical help to someone in need or also in the form of an encouraging word; the purpose behind showing God’s love in whatever form is to point people to Jesus, for that is the most loving thing we can do.
Friends, I pray that as we grow in our relationship with God the Father and learn to recognize his presence and influence in our lives; that we will remember to constantly thank God for His goodness; that we will have the desire to talk to God our Heavenly Father; and that we will respond in love by pointing others to Jesus.