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How do I cling to the love of God when I’m terrified of His discipline?

You must read this till you get it down pat.

Agape-love means doing the best, the most constructive, compassionate, redeeming thing within our power for another. Agape-love is not simply feeling warm fuzzies toward another. Agape ranges from a wife fixing breakfast for her family, washing her husband’s underwear to the husband’s helping with the dishes, being faithful, etc. to the epitome of agape-love…Christ on the cross for us before we would have given Him the time of day.

There’s a huge difference between punishment and discipline. A punisher takes out his hostility/anger on the punishee. Punishment can be either just or unjust; it’s capricious. The punisher typically feels better for having unloaded on the punishee. “There! Let that be a lesson to you, you sorry bleepidy-bleep! If you ever do that again, you’ll get a lot worse and I’m just the guy that can give it to you!” The result of punishment is that the punishee either conforms to the wishes of the punisher out of FEAR or he rebels.

Discipline is far different from that. A discipliner is not necessarily angry. A discipliner is an agape-lover. Sometimes he must actually force himself to discipline the child even though he hates to do it. The disciplinee, sensing that the parent loves him from the way he’s been treated over the months/years, will conform to the wishes of the discipliner because he loves the discipliner. God makes this plain to us in Heb. 12:5-13. So, the parent who never disciplines his kids does not agape-love them by definition.

The Greek never uses the words “punish” or “wrath” in the N.T. with regard to the relationship between God and us, His kids. God is not mad at us; He took out all of His anger on Jesus at Calvary for us! God “chastens” (disciplines) His kids when we need it. If God does not sell the house for you that He has loaned to your family for your tenure on earth, it’s because He wants to use this greatest financial investment most of us will ever be involved in to take you or your entire family a giant step forward on “conforming you to the image of Christ” (Rom. 8:18-19). Houses are temporal; maturity in Christ is eternal. So, go figure. It’s not your house; it’s His. If you lose it, it’s His problem, not yours. Our job is to praise Him through thick or thin.