Transformed by the Father's Love
By Joshua Hurley
Growing up, I thought the Gospel was “destination driven.” Because I wanted to escape this place called hell and make it to this place called heaven, the fear of not going to heaven drove my participation in church. While I believed that Jesus came to get me out of hell and into heaven, I didn’t realize the truth that he came to get God out of heaven and into me.
In July of 2007, racked with fear, unbelief, pornography, lust, drug addiction, and anger, I sat empty and alone in a prison chapel. My life, it appeared, had been summed up by my incarceration and my many failures over the previous ten years. Sitting there, I told God, “If you are real, then now is the time. If you come, I’m yours, and I’ll never turn again.”
What happened next was beyond my comprehension and my expectation. He came. He actually came into that room, and heaven was there. It was a very real and personal experience that forever changed me and the course of my life. Toward the end of the encounter, the Father spoke to me, “Joshua, son, tell my children that they are pursuing me as God and missing me as Father. But tell them if they’ll pursue me as Father, they will know me as God.”
As he said this, his love filled my heart and I found the purpose for the rest of my life. Even though I didn’t really understand what he said then, and only understand just a little more now, the truth that I had a Father and that he is God changed everything!
Imagine that you grew up without a dad but had a man in your life that always provided for you, drove you to doctor’s visits, and was there for you through the good and the bad. Everything would change in your life if that person came to you one day and said, “You have not known this before, but I am your father.” That day, when you first heard those words of relationship, a love based on family identity could begin to blossom in your heart. No longer would that man just be a person who had done all these great things for you. He would be your father. Something you were created for would be birthed inside of you and begin to grow—a relationship with your dad.
At the moment my heavenly Father spoke to me in the chapel, I knew that I was of him. His voice was filled with love, and something deep down inside of me began to rise up. Somehow, I knew that he was my Father and that I wanted to know him deeply. Like a newborn child whose dad had been talking to him in the womb, I felt I had heard his voice before, but now the identity behind that voice was being birthed on the inside of me.
The word declares that you and I are born again by the incorruptible seed of the word of God. Yes, we are born of the Spirit, the DNA of God. Contained in that seed is who he is and the blueprint for how he operates. We are truly his offspring, and we are made now to live from the same platform of love, belief, and trust that the Father himself does.
Over the last six years, I have seen the Father’s love and the revelation of sonship impact my life and the lives of his children on all levels—spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically. However, the best example to me of his love has come from within my own family. When my son was born, I felt the love that a father has for his child for the first time. The love that I have for him is not based on performance, his works, or anything other than the fact he is mine, born of me. It’s amazing. He doesn’t have to do anything to earn my time, my love, or my approval. I have chosen to love him because of who he is, and he lives in that relationship daily.
No matter where you are living or how much or how little you have in life, the Father is eager to give himself to you freely, to bring his quality of life to you and every relationship that you have. This life is based on what he did for us through Jesus, because he loves us. Every day, we can live resting in the integrity of our Father and his heart toward us.
Know this today—you have a Father, who is God. He is love, a love that values you so much that he sent his son to prove it! You are his offspring! You are his inheritance!