God is love.
We know this but over time we have gotten a perception of love and somehow kept God in this box. Let me break this down. I always believed God was super loving, caring, and forgiving and He is, believe me, HE IS but His love is also expressed in discipline. This seemed contrary to the nature of God I was taught. To appreciate this side of God we have to understand that our God is a God of principles. The sun rising and setting is a principle, day and night is a principle. If you do A, you will always get B. This is shown all over scripture. There is seed time and then harvest, principle! You do not have to pray principles to existence they just happen!
Let us bring it back to His love for us. For every action you make there is a consequence. Our God is forgiving and loving, His grace is abundant, but we need to understand that there are always consequences for what we do. It does not make His love any less ‘loving’, it makes His love even more complete. No loving parent will let you run wild but they love you with discipline.
Here is what Hebrews 12:5 – 11 (Message Translation) has to say:
“So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
In retrospect, I am grateful for God’s discipline because His love was clearly on display. I am grateful He did not let me run wild with my thoughts and ambitions and yes I am grateful for the consequences. I am grateful for the gentle words of comfort and grateful for the caution because in His love, the entirety of His love I have found true freedom!
How has the love of God changed your life? Let us talk below.