The Father’s Heart of Love

Sandeep Poonen

A foundational blessing of the New Covenant is that God is our loving Father (John 20:17). We may not always understand how our Father deals with us, just like a child does not always understand the deep love of its parents. But when we approach God in Christ (there is no other way to come near to God), then the Bible teaches me that God always is our altogether loving Father. We must ruthlessly hold fast to the FACT that our Father ALWAYS acts out of love. And His love for us is infinitely more than a mother’s love for her newborn baby.
 God is love (1 John 4:8), so everything God does is from a heart FULL of love. We doubt this because we don’t understand God’s love. We have logical and human ideas of how a God of love must act, and then we are disappointed when circumstances don’t go our way. And we cannot fathom how a loving God (based on our human views of love) could possibly allow the various hard circumstances and trial into our lives. But the problem is not with God and His love. It is that we do not understand the love of God.
 So I wanted to share three key ways in which we must see the Father’s love towards us.


 Luke 15:20 – So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
This is who God our Father is always FIRST towards us. Whenever we return home to the Father, He runs out to meet and hug us. And whenever a child of God seeks relationship with the Father, it is a scene of great joy and happiness (Luke 15:7,22-23), where He is eager to celebrate that we are with Him.
 This is not typically the first view we have of God our Father. So we must work hard to keep this as our first view of God, because we can very easily give in to Old Covenant views of God. We must fight to remind ourselves that the Father ALWAYS jumps off of His eternal throne to embrace us and welcome us into His home – every single time we come to be with Him and talk to Him (what we call prayer). So even if it is the hundredth time in the day (or seventy times seven), God is always leaping off His Throne, and running down the road to welcome us home. The joy of having us back home with Him never gets old for our eternally loving Father!
This lavishly loving view of God as our Father will radically change us.
  • I never need approach God in fear. Jesus Christ has sacrificed all of Himself for me, so that I can now always approach God as my loving Heavenly Father.
  • Knowing God as my Father frees me from anxiety and worry (Matthew 6:25-33). The life of the Christian is meant to be a life of rest (Hebrews 4:9-11)
 I am convinced that even most born-again Christians do not have this as their perpetually FIRST view of God. I know that I lacked this view of God, even several years after I was born again. That resulted in a lack of enduring rest in my life. My mind and feelings still do not comprehend this, but the Holy Spirit has shown me the truth of this from Scripture.
But we should not think that God’s FIRST instinct towards us in Christ (to run to us with great affection) is His ONLY attitude towards us. Like any human father, God also wants us to grow in maturity and wisdom. So while He’s always thrilled to accept us, He also wants us to be a growing reflection of Him and His character. So He reproves and prunes us.


Hebrews 12:6 – For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.
When God sees bad behaviors and harmful ways of thinking, He must correct us. The Father is extremely serious about His discipline for His children, because His love seeks to constantly help us be better. So here again, we must hold fast to the truth that it is our Father’s LOVING hand that disciplines us. I must remind myself of God’s love in His discipline.
 When we think of a father disciplining his son, I can have pictures of anger and frustration. But this is not the correct picture of God correcting us. A good picture of God in how He corrects is when Adam and Eve sinned. When God sought them out in the Garden of Eden, the very first question He asked them was not, “Why did you disobey Me?” The very first question God asked them was, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). God is primarily interested in us being properly connected with Him (in relationship with Him), even before He corrects us of our sins.
So when God seeks to correct me, I must remember WHERE I am with Him when I am being corrected by Him. He seeks to be in full intimate relationship with me before He corrects me. So I see that He brings me onto His lap of love first, and only then seeks to correct me.
 Gone are the pictures of an angry God shouting at me or rushing to me in anger. And gone are the pictures of a God whose eyes are filled with fiery anger and wrath. Instead, I have a loving God with tears in His eyes, who brings me onto His lap of love, and reproves me with all strictness, because He knows that His corrections are vital for my spiritual growth.
 God, who is Love, corrects me with the fulness of His Love. So whatever picture we have of a Father’s discipline must be accompanied by an ocean of love all around it!


 John 15:1-2 – I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
What does a loving earthly father do when a child of his does well. He probably sits back in satisfaction. But we see a different view of Love in our Heavenly Father. Jesus tells me here that when I bear fruit, the Father PRUNES me. To prune a branch is to cut back parts of the branch for better shape or more fruitful growth. So the Father takes away from me when He sees that I begin to bear fruit. But it is only for my very best, and it is an expression of true Divine Love.
Here again, this doesn’t seem logical. When I finally begin to see evidence of the fruits of the Holy Spirit being borne in me, I can be happy. So I can be perplexed when I see the Father coming at me with a knife, and He begins to cut things away from me. This is how I can feel in the trials that God allows in my life – in the form of earthly disappointments, shattered dreams and goals, failed marriage proposals, etc. Such events could be especially hard to understand if they happen at a time when I am faithfully walking with God. I can wonder why God is “clipping my wings” and not allowing me to fly. And why He is blessing others while restricting me.
It is crucial that we learn this Divine heart of true love. God has much higher hopes than just some fruit from our lives. He wants us to bear MORE AND MORE fruit. It is with this heart of the very best, and a face full of approval (for the fruit that we’ve already borne) that He prunes us. What a deep tragedy it is then, when His children complain about the Father’s pruning knife.
A.W. Tozer said this, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
I am convinced that my mind needs to be radically renewed to know who God really is, and what His love really looks like. I have many human definitions of love, but I must hold fast to the definition of Divine Love from the Bible’s description of God as my Father. Choosing to define the love of God based on my human logic is as foolish as a 5-year-old getting to determine what his parents’ love ought to look like.
May God open our eyes to see these 3 immense acts of love by our Heavenly Father.