Child-like or childish?

The pastor took his text from the Gospels, those well-known words of Jesus about the faith of a child, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15, NIV)  That idea has occupied my mind since then.

What does it mean to be a child of God?
What changes in my attitude and faith
are needed for me to live in God’s care and purposes?

A little child enjoys an ability to live in the moment.  Kids generally do not stare at the clock or fret about getting to the next thing on the agenda… unless Grandpa promises a trip for ice cream “later” which seems to mean “now.”  Most of the time a child appreciates the opportunities of the moment. 

When Gio (my grandson) and I explored a corner of Manhattan last week, he was content to let himself just ‘be’ in the city, looking up at the skyscrapers with awe, commenting on the noises and smells that surrounded him. He trusted me to know where we were going and to take care of him so his experience was uncomplicated with worry. His simple happiness inspired me!

This Monday morning I am asking myself, “Jerry, are you prepared to walk with Jesus through life with a child-like faith?”  That’s not an easy choice for a man of my years. I tend to be wary, to plan to protect myself, to let anxious thoughts about the ‘next thing’ to hinder my ability to live joyfully with God, confident that He will keep and protect me.

Mark records a moment with Jesus. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.” Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16, NLT)  

Children were thought of somewhat differently in Jesus’ time. Families were large.  Many children died before they reached the age of 5. They were expected to work, to contribute to the welfare of the family. They were mostly kept on the outside of the social circle, not invited to sit among adults. So, the disciples saw the ‘kids’ that gathered around Jesus as an inconvenience, a bother, unimportant, a hindrance to the ‘real’ work that Jesus needed to do. Jesus saw them as people to be loved, a model of simple faith, and embraced them with His blessings. He saw them as a model of the best life with our Heavenly Father.  

My friend as that scene plays in your mind, will you surrender your ‘adult’ attitudes before the Lord, becoming like a little child before God?  Be careful not to slip into childishness!  That is the downside. A little child can lack the ability to understand the larger context of his life, whining and crying when his desires are frustrated.  Jesus asks us to be child-like in faith!

Today, as life unfolds around us, let’s pray for a heart that trusts, eyes that see as He sees, a willingness to let His arms hold us. A child-like faith is more than a naïve idea that ‘everything will be great, everything I want will happen to me.’   What we can experience as we live with God, our Father, in humility and obedience, is that assurance that no matter what is going on in life He is able and willing to care for us. A child-like trust in Him, even when chaos overwhelms us and the darkness is foreboding, allows us to know peace that that experienced by a beloved child.  Jesus promises this –“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).

Base line truth- God loves His children. Take Jesus’ words to heart today, disciple. When you find yourself fretting, complaining, or wishing you were someone else, or that life was something other than it is, or that you were somewhere far away; stop and give the Spirit the opportunity to renew your joy in the moment. Humbly accept the day and let joy find you!

Here is a word from the Word. “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.  … And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him.” (1 John 3:1-2, The Message)

(Video of this blog at this link)


No Longer Slaves

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser

© 2014 Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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