“Relationship”. The dictionary defines this word as “the way in which two or more people talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other.” Relationships can be formal, as in a business relationship, or they can be personal and intimate, as in a father’s relationship with his children. While we often think of our relationship with God in the first way, he wants it to be more like the second.
Do you know that you are cherished by God? Do you know that he enjoys spending time with you, showing you his love, and providing for you? This is who God is; he loves treating you as his child—so much so that he makes it a point to try to teach you and form you so that you can “grow up” to be just like him. As with any other parent, part of God’s parenting involves discipline. It only makes sense that he would want to correct us when we stray—he loves us too much to ignore us. So often, when we think of discipline, we think of punishment and pain. But God’s discipline is life-giving. It brings the promise of greater peace and contentment because it helps us become more of the person God has created us to be.
How does our Father discipline us? He may prompt us to ask a friend for forgiveness. He may give us a conscience twinge when we consider watching an inappropriate movie or wasting time surfing the Internet. He may allow difficult circumstances that cause us to look to him for grace instead of relying on our own strength. He may also allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin as a way of teaching us and forming us. In all these ways, our heavenly Father seeks to love us and teach us.