While scrolling through my inbox recently, I noticed an article “7 signs that your child loves you”. “Of course my kids love me,” I thought. Still, curiosity won, and I perused the lists of behaviors from infants to big kids that can assure a parent that they are loved. It’s interesting that the list easily applies to our spiritual lives. As Christians, whether teens or seasoned servants, we never leave that parent-child relationship. We are quick to hang our hat on the absolute truth that our obedience declares our love (I John 5:3, John 14:15, II John 1:6). Yet, a loving relationship that flourishes will have far more characteristics than simply doing as we’re told. Consider these 7 signs of a loving child as we examine our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
She talks to Him: Perhaps this is the most obvious, but a relationship without communication is no relationship at all. We all have ebbs and flows in our prayer life. How is yours currently? Has a packed schedule left only room for the occasional prayers at meals and bedtime? Has a recent tragedy left you pleading to God for help but wondering why you don’t remember to talk to Him during the good times? Are my supplications only concentrated on the physical?
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.’’ – Col. 4:2
She copies His behavior: When it comes down to it, it’s difficult to hide where our priorities lie. Is it my aim to put God first in every aspect of life (Matt. 6:33)? Do I find myself justifying my participation in questionable activities just so I don’t feel so different (I Pet 2:9-11)? Holiness is an hourly, daily, and lifetime pursuit. We can’t copy God’s omniscience, omnipresence, or omnipotence, but we can aim to be holy in everything we do.
“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” – 1 Pet. 1:15
She seeks comfort from Him: A child goes running to a parent when they have a scraped knee. As adults, it’s tempting, in our world of abundance, to want to fix problems ourselves. Is prayer my first line of defense or last resort? Is my scripture memory bank limited to the plan of salvation? Do I let pride stand in the way of asking for help from my Christian family? God has provided all of these avenues for our help and comfort no matter what we’re facing.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – II Cor :3-4
She makes verbal declarations of love: We talk about the things that are most important to us. We are eager to share good news about our family. Are we just as eager to share THE Good News with those around us? Do we hesitate to speak out about God because of our lack of knowledge of scripture? Do I miss opportunities to talk about my Savior with my children or the check-out lady because my head is buried in my phone? These are things we can work on as we aim to have our speech indicate the priorities of our heart.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45
He’s her confidante: When we’ve offended someone in an earthly relationship, we go to them (hopefully) to apologize for our wrongs. Usually, a generic “I’m sorry for whatever I did” doesn’t do much to strengthen the relationship. In seeking to grow our spiritual relationship with God, how much more beneficial might it be to confess to Him our sins, specifically, just as David did (Psalm 51:14). He knows them already (Ps. 139:4)!
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” – I John 5:14
She wants to do things for Him: We live in an instant gratification world. Pats on the back, public recognition, social media “likes”, and awards make us feel good. Giving and receiving encouragement is a good thing! In all of our serving and doing good however, sometimes we forget Who it’s all about. When struggling to serve with the right humility and focus, practice the spiritual discipline of secrecy (Matt. 6:3-4). Good deeds done in anonymity are sure to leave you feeling good while giving our Father the glory.
“… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
She shows gratitude: An exercise I’m convinced we don’t do often enough is counting our individual blessings, and not just the physical ones (Eph. 1:3)! A heart that’s mindful of blessings is often one that’s more mindful of our own inadequacies. Acknowledgement of our continual need of grace, mercy, and love from our heavenly father is sure to strengthen our relationship and reliance on Him.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” – Psm. 107:1
In our earthly relationships, we know the joy and closeness an unsolicited “I love you” can bring. As we serve our Heavenly Father day to day, may we aim to grow closer to him with our thoughts, words, and actions not simply out of duty but with the love He has already shown us.
By Kathryn Baker
Kathryn is married to Andy Baker who preaches for the Maud church of Christ in Maud, TX. She stays at home with their 3 children. In her spare time, she enjoys food (both cooking and eating!), gardening, and taking their Boston terrier for walks.