Would it help you right now if I told you that God loves you? Would it cause you to stop and realize what his love actually does for you? In fact, if you don’t know, his love for you is perfect. It is strong, and pure, and true. It is unconditional and it is everlasting. He could not love you more, he will never love you less, and his love for you will never end. There's something tremendously valuable to understand about the way God expresses his love for you — it's like a father caring for his children. Not the father that some of you grew up with — irritable, irrational, always busy and never satisfied. God is a perfect father to his children: he loves you, he encourages you, he strengthens you, and he teaches you how to stand on your own two feet.

God does love you but not in a passive way that says, "You go your way and I'll go mine." He loves you but not in a vindictive way that says, "When you disappoint me you can be sure I'll get even with you." No, he loves you in a perfect way, like a perfect father loves imperfect children. That means that there will be times when he will correct you, he will discipline you, like a good father corrects his own children. The Old Testament reports many examples of disobedient children. Israel had a history of coming to God, of falling away from him, of getting caught up in sin, of repenting and coming back to him. God was always patient with his people, just like he's patient with you today. He was patient with them, and he loved them too much to let them become a nation of idol-worshippers. He loved them too much to let them become a nation that oppresses the poor. He loved them too much to let them become a nation that has no integrity, no sense of right and wrong. So there were times in Israel's history when God disciplined his people in order to get them back on track.

He does the same for us today. He does that same for you. If you are a child of God, if you've accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you have given your life to him, then God deals with you as a son or a daughter. If you begin to live in disobedience, if your life becomes full of sin and rebellion, if you start doing things that are displeasing to him and harmful to yourself and hurtful to others, God will correct you. He will discipline you. Why? Because he loves you too much to let you ruin your life. And that's exactly what living in sin does for you: it ruins your life. Trust me I know!

This is why the writer of Hebrews said—My child, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves... (Hebrews 12:5-6)

Whenever we wander off track God loves you like a perfect father loves his children. He loves you too much to let you ruin your life with sin. He will correct you —that is, discipline you — in order to bring you back to where you need to be. So when you go off the deep end, he will do what he needs to do in order to get you back to where you need to be. When you get mad enough at your situation, mad enough at what sin has done in your life, and you put your life back in the hands of God, he will restore you completely, and make your life as great as it can be. Thank God for his tough love.


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