If God is our Heavenly Father then what does he expect from us? Have you ever given that question any thought? Repeatedly in the Gospels Jesus referred to God as his Father, but also as our Father. This idea of God as Father helps us to understand some things about God because we understand what a father is supposed to be like. Admittedly, there are fathers who don’t live up to our ideals, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some expectations about fatherhood. We all want a father who is kind, loving, understanding, strong, committed, forgiving, unafraid, and so on. When our fathers don’t live up to those ideals we become ashamed or embarrassed. Some children even become hateful if their fathers constantly exasperate them or become abusive. But deep down we have expectations of fathers similar to the traits I listed above. But if God is a father, then what does he expect of us?
All fathers have certain expectations of their children. I have three daughters. I have expectations of them, even though they are all out of the house and living their own lives. For me I boil down my expectations of them to a single passage of scripture. “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (III John 1:4). I pray for my girls, and my son-in-law, and my grandkids, that the supreme love in their lives would be Jesus and the scripture, and that their lives would be a reflection of Christ’s love for them until the day they die.
But what about God? What expectations does God have for his children?