The Father: Empowered to Call God “Abba”
Calling God “Abba, Father” is different from giving God a familiar name. Calling God “Abba” is entering into the same intimate, fearless, trusting, and empowering relationship with God that Jesus had. This relationship is called Spirit, and this Spirit is given to us by Jesus and enables us to cry out with him, “Abba, Father.”
Calling God “Abba, Father” (see Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) is a cry of the heart, a prayer welling up from our innermost beings. It has nothing to do with naming God but everything to do with claiming God as the source of who we are. This claim does not come from any sudden in sight or acquired conviction; it is the claim that the Spirit of Jesus makes in communion with our spirits. It is the claim of love.
The Son: Joint Heirs with Christ
We continue to put ourselves down as less than Christ. Thus, we avoid the full honor as well as the full pain of the Christian life. But the Spirit that guided Jesus guides us. Paul says, “The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).
When we start living according to this truth, our lives will be radically transformed. We will not only come to know the full freedom of the children of God but also the full rejection of the world. It is understandable that we hesitate to claim the honor so as to avoid the pain. But, provided we are willing to share in Christ’s suffering, we also will share in his glory (see Romans 8:17).
The Holy Spirit: The Power of the Spirit
In and through Jesus we come to know God as a powerless God, who becomes dependent on us. But it is precisely in this powerlessness that God’s power reveals itself. This is not the power that controls, dictates, and commands. It is the power that heals, reconciles, and unites. It is the power of the Spirit. When Jesus appeared, people wanted to be close to him and touch him because “power came out of him” (Luke 6:19).
It is this power of the divine Spirit that Jesus wants to give us. The Spirit indeed empowers us and allows us to be healing presences. When we are filled with that Spirit, we cannot be other than healers.
God’s Breath Given to Us
Being the living Christ today means being filled with the same Spirit that filled Jesus. Jesus and his Father are breathing the same breath, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the intimate communion that makes Jesus and his Father one. Jesus says, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:10) and “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). It is this unity that Jesus wants to give us. That is the gift of his Holy Spirit.
Living a spiritual life, therefore, means living in the same communion with the Father as Jesus did, and thus making God present in the world.
~From Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith