Having Childlike Faith
Many biblical scholars before me have written deep theological articles about faith. They use big SAT words to explain that without faith our belief is void (Hebrews 11:6). If you are looking for that kind of article then I would suggest you search elsewhere. That is just not the type of writer I am… If you are looking for a blog that explains the importance of faith at a ground level then stay put and read on. I will stick to the facts and tell you what I have learned in my recent studies about faith in God.
I am not the wisest nor brightest person in any room so I seek my knowledge directly from the source, which is the word of God. In my search, I found that Jesus spoke of faith many times during his ministry. He used many parables and stories to illustrate faith for us. The one that has always stood out to me the most was the analogy of having faith like a child. We know this is an important lesson because three out of the four gospels tell this story (Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:15-17). In this story, Jesus and the disciples had just left Capernaum and arrived in Judea on Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem. When they stopped in a village, people began to bring their children to be blessed by Jesus, which was a common practice for rabbis to do at this time. The disciples rebuked the parents for doing this and told them to stop bothering Jesus. It is believed that the disciples didn’t want Jesus to be overwhelmed by something so small as blessing children. Jesus did not see it this way, as He continued to take the children into His arms and bless them. As Jesus does so often in the Bible, He took the opportunity to turn this into a teachable moment for all of us. It was at this time, Jesus taught that we should all come to the Father and the Kingdom of God as a child. Jesus even went as far to say that unless we become like children we will not see the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).
In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, we need to be more like children? What was Jesus trying to tell us? What could we possibly learn from children? I am sure these are all questions the disciples had and many of us today still have. We had heard many times previously that we are to be wise in our ways. Why would Jesus then go back and tell us to act like a child? That is not what Jesus meant. The best way to analyze what Jesus really meant is to look at the character of a child.
Humble, since they have nothing of their own
Dependant on others for basic needs
Trusting of all
Curious about the world and how things work
Willing to learn
Bold and fearless in action
Innocent in mind and spirit
When we step back and look at these character traits we notice that these are all things that God has called us to be as believers. We should strive to be humble, having complete dependence and trust in God. Having faith in an outcome we cannot see requires a lot of humility, dependence, and trust. It requires us to say, “I don’t know what is going to happen but I know that my God is good, kind, and caring.” Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Children also have a deep love for things that provide comfort to them, things such as; their parents or their favorite blanket/stuffed animal. When that person or item is taken from them it is hard for them to be able to function normally. This is similar to how our love for God should look, He should be our ultimate source of comfort.
If you have ever spent time with a young child you will hear a billion questions, they are so curious about everything. They have such a large appetite for new information, everything is new and exciting. God wants us to have that same hunger for knowledge, He wants us to ask questions and strive to learn daily. He wants us to take what we are learning and be bold. We can be as fearless as Daniel in the lion’s den because we have a great protector who surrounds us with love. This kind of love is similar to the love and protection a parent has for their child.
Lastly, children are innocent, they have not been influenced by the world’s evil view. Although all of us are born into a sinful world, the first few years of our life we are protected from the ways of the world. As adults, culture has influenced many aspects of our lives and our innocence has been taken. Although we have experienced the world, it is so important to not let culture influence our ways. We should strive to be innocent and pure even if culture looks down on us. It is much more important to be living in accordance with God's way and not the world’s.
So when Jesus told us to be like a child, He meant all of these things. To be all of these things means that many of us have to push our pride aside and accept that we understand very little when it comes to the ways of the Lord. We are merely the students and God is the teacher. I think He is also using this analogy to remind us that we are all children of God. We have been chosen and adopted into the family of God, this gives us the freedom to be who God has created us to be. He gives us permission to live in boldness as a child of God.
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