Give Me That Mountain

Love and Discipline

The Law and Grace. Day thirty-six...

For the very first time after the delivery, your child is secure in your arms. You look into her face and wonder how you ever lived without her. It's as if a switch has been activated that has elevated your concept of love to a level you didn't think existed.

The days pass by. Her fussing—no problem! She's just uncomfortable in some way. A quick diaper change, some food, or some time in the rocking chair.

holding baby

The weeks pass by. Her fussing—it becomes a problem! You do everything you can think of to make her comfortable, and she's still not happy.

Then one day you look into her eyes and you no longer see just sweet innocence. You see rebellion.

This is the crisis all parents face.

Do you continue to try to make her comfortable by giving her what she wants—even though she's beginning to cross the line from innocence into rebellion? Or do you begin to discipline her in small ways—such as letting her cry herself to sleep?

The emotions associated with the love you have for your child will cause you to put off discipline for as long as possible. But at some point her destructive and disruptive behavior will force you to come to the realization that disciplining her is as much a part of loving her as all the hugs and kisses. Hopefully, this occurs at an early age—before a pattern of rebellion has developed.

Whatever your concept of love, whatever my concept of love—God is the embodiment of love.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8 NKJV)

And God disciplines those He loves.

Not only did God discipline under the old covenant, He continues to discipline under the new covenant. This passage from Proverbs 3 illustrates God's perspective on discipline under the old covenant:

Do not despise the LORD's instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11–12 HCSB)

And this passage, quoted again in Hebrews 12, certainly appears to illustrate God's perspective on discipline under the new covenant:

And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord's discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. (Hebrews 12:5–6 HCSB)

But discipline and punishment are handled differently in the new covenant than they were handled in the old covenant. And the difference is Jesus.

Jesus makes all the difference.

Have a good day,
Mike

Image credit: Bridget Coila

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