At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 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. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:1-6 ESV).
Recently David sent me a picture of Maggie as she was rounding the corner in their home all dressed up. He said, “She was stylin’.” Indeed she was! You must remember that she picked this ensemble out herself, including the very contemporary hat in the jaunty position. I personally like the bare feet. That’s priceless. I suppose there may be some who would gasp and mutter something like “she just needs to grow up!” I would hope a more congenial position would be taken. She is a gregarious, happy child. So, why wouldn’t her personality be reflected in her preferred dress? So many would rather ignore that and make the serious call for more maturity and responsibility in our lives.
The Bible does encourage us to mature in our faith. But God also calls us to become like little children. You see, maturing doesn’t equal independence, necessitating letting go. Maturing in faith is a continual growing in dependence, compelling us to hold tight.
Yes, the Bible insists that mature faith and childlike faith are not incompatible at all. Indeed, when we see God as our Father, we will welcome His tender care, humbly accepting that He knows our frames are weak, our inabilities are part of our human condition, we cannot grasp true wisdom on our own, and like little children, we desperately need our Father.
It would do us all well to recognize some of the following characteristics of being a child in our faith: A child is innocent; a child is trusting; a child believes without complication; a child has not had time to allow the preconceived notions of the world to form his decision-making process; a child receives with joy, forgetting herself with light-hearted abandonment; a child is humble; a child is content in the little things; a child has the faith to move mountains; a child is awed by majestic splendor; a child takes to heart God’s promises in all their simplicity. As Leigh and Clark wrote in their simple song: “Sing like no one is listening; love like you’ve never been hurt; dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.” That’s living the resurrected life.
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