Tuesday, June 05, 2007

love can sting

We're told in Scripture that the Father disciplines all his people he accepts in Jesus as his children. And that this discipline is not pleasant but painful, yet afterwards yields the fruit of righteousness and peace to those who are trained by it.

And we're told God does this in love. He loves us, therefore he wants his very best for us. Not second best, not just us getting by and getting in. He wants us to enjoy his full blessing. And ultimately and finally, we as his children will, but why not begin to enjoy that fullness of blessing in Jesus now? Why wait as we stubbornly are bent to have our own way?

We're told to accept discipline as just a normal part of being God's children, and that without experiencing it we show that we're not his children. So this love that stings, this discipline is going to be a part of our life in Christ. I think it's ongoing throughout our lives. Though I also think that we should be enjoying more and more the peaceable fruit of righteousness it brings and perhaps less and less of that discipline.

When you don't feel good over time you look beyond the symptoms to the root cause. I think of David in Psalm 32 and 51. I think of Job. God is certainly hurt by his love and Hosea was called to share similarly in his human experience God's pain. Receiving loving rebuke involves pain, but actually relieves one's suffering when accepted.

And this is a main point: God's love that stings also heals. God's love which causes temporal pain is meant to deal with the pain that is chronic and in danger of lasting forever. In my life I experience this. And I accept it as part of my journey in God and in community in Jesus. I want to receive any needed correcting pain and repent and be restored into the fellowship of love found in Jesus.

From this loving discipline there should be changes in our lives, beginning in our hearts and working out into our everyday lives with our families, neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters in Jesus, people at work and including those who are not friendly and are perhaps even enemies. This love that stings will bring change into our lives, as we respond to it.

Though Jesus never sinned he did experience something of the Father's love through his obedient suffering. Through prayer he embraced his Father's will even though it was not his own will at the time. This is a model for us, as we seek to accept as a way of life in Jesus, the Father's loving discipline, making us holy like Jesus.

What would you share with us on this that can help us? Or any thoughts you'd like to share.


L.L. Barkat said...

This past week I've been thinking about what it means to be blessed. And it is as you say... sometimes blessing has a difficult exterior, but Jesus reminds us that His blessings (even when they are "hard") bring us into the delight of the Kingdom.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Yes. I've been thinking this week a little on life as a journey, the blessed life in Christ, that is. And we hang on or walk on allowing for the bumps and grinds and dark places and even fallings and failings along the way as just part of the blessing God has for us in Christ as we together become more and more like him. And in that is the love, the very love of God that indeed must sting us, at times.