By Love Transformed, by R.T. Kendall

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Tough Love

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. —Revelation 3:19

Dr. James Dobson has a phrase: "Love must be tough." Tenderness is central to Jesus' nature, but so is toughness. Jesus is God, yet Jesus is man. You can't reconcile the two, but they are both true. Jesus is tender, yet Jesus can be tough.

Jesus tests us to this very day because He wants to know how we feel about His Father. Let me tell you something: there is a lot of talk from people who say, "Jesus I can accept, but I don't like the God of the Bible." However, they need to understand that the God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. Not only that, but the God of the Bible is the Father of Jesus. You may think that you are endearing yourself to Jesus by saying, "Jesus, I can take You, but I don't like Your Father." But that will incur His anger. You could not have said anything worse.

Before you are saved, you have to be reconciled with God, the Father of Jesus. There is no way you can avoid the God of the Bible if you are going to go to heaven. Jesus makes it clear that His Father is the God with whom you must come to terms. He wants to test you. He wants to see how you are going to react, how you feel about His Father. Perhaps years ago you became disillusioned with God; you felt He let you down, that He hurt you in some way. You believed then that your feelings were justified. Jesus wants to know how you feel about God now.

How do we know about the toughness of Jesus? Take, for example, when Jesus saw His disciples on the Sea of Galilee in a storm; they were rowing but making no headway as the winds were so strong. Jesus saw them. He could have gone to their rescue immediately. He didn't. He waited. That meant He had to be tough, even though what He wanted to do was to go at once. So love is tough. And He will test you, too.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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