The Ultimate Father and his loving discipline

Many people, including myself, fail to recognize the dynamic love of a Father for his child. A father’s love shapes how he does just about everything he does with regard to his child, including things such as: praise for doing good, discipline for doing bad, encouragement to try harder, empathy when goals aren’t reached, etc… When it comes to our relationship with our heavenly Father, the notorious difficulty is with the carryover from our sinful fathers that is projected onto our understanding of our heavenly father and therefore shapes how we view Him in His dealings with us.

God’s discipline for his true children:

There are two great errors with regard to God’s discipline that must be avoided. These two truths will prevent a wrong view of Gods discipline. The First barrier to error is the truth that God must be angry with our sins BECAUSE He loves us. Second, God’s anger and discipline for his believers is always motivated by love and aims at his children sharing in his holiness and is never motivated by inpunitive judgment and retribution. If either of these are misrepresented, our Father-Son; Father-Daughter relationship with God will lack the proper fullness that God intends, and will eventually carryover into the way we parent our own children.
Hebrews 12 says,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons… If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons… For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. “
Take my son for example: today I told him to stay out of our extra room in the house because there are nails and other dangerous stuff in there for a two year old to be around. I heard him open the door and I called him three times to get out of the room. At this point, in my heart as his father, the most pressing issue is not that he is in the room with nails but that he is intentionally disobeying me. Why? Because, as his father I know that God has entrusted my son to me and given me the responsibility to, while trusting in God, do all that I can to ensure that my son loves God and trusts Jesus with everything in his life. Also, my son needs to learn to trust me and do what I tell him because this will be what his relationship to God is patterned after.
So what happened? I gave him 3 opportunities to leave the room and he continued to disobey me. Because I loved him, I took him and spanked him. While spanking him, the thought never crossed my mind that he was somehow out of my favor, love, or grace; he was right in the middle of it. There is no such thing as a father who loves his child too much to discipline them. Ideally, a father’s love is expressed in the way that is most beneficial for the child to grow and properly develop.
In other words, my relationship with my son will thrive more when our father-son relationship includes me as his father becoming angry when he does things that endanger his health, heart, and future; especially his heart.
Therefore, never is God’s love more clearly displayed than when He becomes angry with his children for disobeying Him. He cares for us and longs for us to share in his holiness. He wants our desires to be the best desires, and our thoughts the best thoughts, and our actions the best actions. If He truly loves us, then He must be angry with us when we do things that keep us from the fullness that he desires for us.
How did it end with my son? Immediately after I spanked him he cried and held out his hands for me to hold him. I hugged him and kissed him and told him that daddy is not angry anymore and that I only whoop him because I love him and want what is best for him.
I never wanted to bring him any pain. I didn’t enjoy causing his pain, but I understood that he would suffer if he did not learn to yield to me and trust me. And though he was never truly out of my favor he had to experience my anger and unhappy countenance because my love for him required it. His expression of “I’m sorry daddy,” was enough to deter all of my anger and remove my unhappy countenance.
In the same way, much of what we experience in our relationship with God is based on our understanding of him from his word (which is why reading the bible is vitally important and very under prioritized in Christendom today). And therefore, it is vital for us to recognize God’s anger and displeasure with our sins, because this anger is the expression of his great love for us. His anger is not to destroy or tear down, but as Hebrews says “for our holiness,” and ultimately, for our vision of his beauty to be complete when we see him. What does it take to remove his unhappy countenance? This will: A look at the cross of Christ with a heart that feels the pain of grieving God; followed by these words, “I’m sorry Daddy.”
The second part of Discipline will be posted later this week.