I love to watch little children be themselves without worry. They don’t mind being the only one dancing in the middle of Walmart or singing off key at the top of their lungs. They are often fearless as they climb up the bookshelf and jump out of the swing midair. And their trust that their daddy will not to drop them or that their grandmother will feed them something wonderful is unmatched. The Lord also views little children with love and adoration, using them as beautiful pictures of how we are to come to our Heavenly Father.
So often when Jesus speaks of how we are to approach the throne we are told to come as children. In Matthew 18:1-3 He was asked by the disciples who would be the greatest in Heaven which was a bit of a loaded question. Would it be the most religious teachers? The people who followed Jesus the most closely? The ones who knew the most? Donated the most? The most faithful disciple? All of these options would have met the assumptions of the religious leaders of the day, however, His response was to look at a little child standing among them and say, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mark says in chapter 10 that if we don’t “receive the Kingdom of God like a child [we] will never enter it.” Finally, in Matthew 19 and Luke 18, He says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
So, if the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who have childlike faith, I want to think about what that truly looks like as a semi-grown adult trying to do life. See, I think so much of childlike faith is lost for us as we meet disappointments and reality. We get scared to just let go and experience the freedoms of life for fear of what may happen. Kind of like the first time you ride a bike without training wheels. Yes, you have the chance at freedom but you also have the chance at running head first into the mailbox and uprooting it. Trust me, I did exactly that! But regardless of that fear we are still called to live like children of God so here’s how I have learned to become a little child in my walk with the Lord…
When I was a little girl my Daddy would flip me upside down at night and let me walk on the ceiling to bed which was always a thrill. Never once did it cross my mind that he might drop me because I trusted him. He had always held tight in other situations and caught me when I jumped off of things so I knew he was reliable. That’s how we should place our trust in God. We shouldn’t hesitate or consider the possibility of failures. You see, I can look back over the last thirty years and see example after example of the Lord faithfully catching me. Yet, the older I get the harder it can be to let go of that control and trust that the Father won’t let you fall even though I know He is trustworthy so I suggest setting yourself reminders of how faithful He has been in the past and how faithful He will be in the future.
Family vacations are always fun but as a kid I was always mesmerized because I knew where we were going but I wasn’t sure how or when we’d get there or how many stops would occur along the way. That didn’t bother me though because I trusted my parents to have everything figured out. I would just get in the car excited and filled with expectations. That, however, is not how I tend to function in the unknown journey with God which is pretty bonkers considering my parents were functioning off a Rand McNally book of maps and God is literally the creator of the universe.
I hate that the term blind faith has come to represent just leaving things to chance when, with God, that isn’t the case. He isn’t blind to the journey, we are! It’s like that great scene in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade when Indie has to step out in faith. Just because he couldn’t see the bridge doesn’t mean it wasn’t there the whole time. In the last few years, I’ve really tried to have my childhood road trip mentality. I know what God’s ultimate goal is but I’m not sure what way He’s going to get me there or how many stops will occur in the journey. More than that, I really want to approach this unknown journey with expectation and excitement about all the Lord has in-store just like I did as a child.
As a child I would talk the ear off of anyone who would listen. I would visit my grandmother and tell her all about what I was learning at school and I’d demonstrate the dance I was learning in ballet. I would take artwork to show her and sing her my last children’s choir arrangement. There was nothing too insignificant to share with her and that’s how the Lord wants us to commune with Him. While you should definitely turn to God when you are struggling or in need, that shouldn’t be the only time He hears from you. He is your Father and He wants to be a part of your life.
I got in the habit a few years back of praying anytime a need popped in my head which turned into asking for guidance in daily situations which turned into chatting about life. If you see me driving down the street and it appears I’m talking to myself, rest assured that me and Jesus are having a great conversation. Sometimes, it’s a quick whisper of thanks and other times it’s a drawn out confab about a man I know, an upcoming event or a hope I have for the future. He listens to it all and gives beautiful feedback. See, we’ve been tricked into thinking that the Lord is busy with all the troubles of the world and just doesn’t have time to hear about your trivial hopes or needs. That’s just not true because the Lord is not human which means He is pretty, stinking good at multi-tasking so talk to Him just like you would talk to a loved one when you were a kid.
Have you ever seen a small child come to their parent or teacher and admit they’ve done something wrong? There’s a small period of time before a child starts trying to hide their misdeeds in an effort to escape punishment when they feel so guilty that they readily admit their mistakes to someone they trust. This is a beautiful picture of how we can come to God when we’ve failed. We are told to confess our sins and repent. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” That is such a true statement. The Lord is merciful when we admit our wrongdoings though that does not keep us from the consequences of our sin. Confession and repentance are such a huge part of growth in the Christian walk. You will never be perfect in this life but as you grow in your relationship with the Lord you should feel that prick in your heart just like a naughty child and you should feel safe going before the Lord confessing your sins. He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. (1 John 1:9)
Ultimately, being a child before God requires us to give up our pride and idea of self-sufficient independence because a child knows they can’t do it on their own. We have to be willing to ask for help, own up to our mistakes and pursue an intentional relationship with the Father and luckily we can be called children of God. (1 John 3:1-10)