Day 24: Childlike

31 STORIES OF FAITH ADVENTURES

DAY 24:  CHILDLIKE

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
— Matthew 18:2-4

Sometimes we think that Jesus meant for us to have a “kids say the darndest things” faith.  Like the clouds are cotton candy and peeing in the pool will turn it blue.

Ministering at Citychurch, we do not shy away from the most disadvantaged or dangerous areas of our city.  In fact we go there first, knowing there are children in those situations who are often out of reach from hearing the gospel.

In doing this, we’ve found children in some ugly situations.  Children living in hotels where the establishment boast “free adult programing” on their signs.  Children in homes with drug addicted parents.  Children who are taught to steal any chance they get.  Children with caregivers suffering with mental illness.  Children living with a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend in the home, who are often dysfunctional or destructive.  Children that are taught fighting is a correct response to every conflict.

These children did not choose these situations.  Often they don’t know that their situation isn’t normal yet.

Children who ask for prayer requests like, “Can you pray for my parents to quit fighting?”  And, “My dad is getting out of jail.  Can you pray for me because I’ve never met him before?”

Children don’t have a false illusion that they can fix any problem.  When their needs are not being met, like food or clothing, they don’t have the option of running to the store.

Childlike does not mean shallow.

A child can respond to the gospel.  I have seen it happen.  I’ve talked kids through salvation, and seen them clearly understand God’s gift of forgiveness.

How can we become more like a child?

We can humbly admit that we need God.  Anything we have to offer is temporary, selfish, and short-sighted compared to the solutions God offers.

God is eternal.

Why was God even using a child as an example?  Verse 1 of Matthew 18 tells us what was going on.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’
— Matthew 18:1 ESV

The disciples thought they had impressed Jesus.  They were asking who was the most impressive, spiritually, among them.

How many times have I thought that I could impress Jesus with a thought or an action?  If I am honest, it happens often.

Jesus let the disciples know that they were striving in the wrong direction.  They were trying to climb up a ladder that they instead should be climbing down.

There is another time when Jesus tells the disciples that entering the kingdom of God requires childlike faith.

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’
— Luke 18:15-17 ESV

Again the disciples were looking at the world from earthly perspective, bigger means more important.

I know that I have a tendency to forget that the kingdom of God doesn’t have rules like survival of the fittest or networking.  There is no cool lunch table or seniority in the kingdom.

This flip flop of how humans live life is both refreshing and convicting.

I don’t think childlike faith is possible without God completely changing the way we look at things.

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
— 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 ESV

 

 

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