Faith Like A Child

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, (3) and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (4) "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (5) "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; (6) but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:2-6 NASB)

As an outdoor kind of family, this story kind of stuck with me as I read it. It seems that on the way home from a family camping trip, 6-year-old Tanya and her dad were the only ones still awake in the car. As Tanya looked at the full moon through the car window, she asked, “Daddy, do you think I can touch the moon if I stand on my tiptoes?”
“No, I don’t think so,” he smiled. “Can you reach it?” he asked her. “No, I don’t think I can either,” she said.
She was quiet for a moment, then she said confidently, “Daddy, maybe if you hold me up on your shoulders?”

It is child-like faith no doubt but don't take for a minute that this equals easy – Tanya just figured out it was worth it to try. She also knew the one she was asking, and that my friends, makes all the difference.

Jesus is talking about childlike faith, not because it is something that is easy but because it addresses something we can all understand and observe. This was Jesus' knack, his gifting as God – he made the world so certainly he could see all the connections we miss. It is just like the prodigal story last week or the story of the lost coin or parable of the seeds. Go ahead and pick one of Jesus' teachings and you'll find not what is easy but what is available to our senses.

Faith is from the Greek word PISTIS. Romans 10:14-17 tells us that faith comes from teaching. In the writings of John, we find knowledge connected to faith but also seen as a near equivalent. (Joh_10:38; 1Jo_2:3). But the two, Easton's Bible Dictionary tells us, “are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will.”

That is the difference of a child pointing to a mother or father and saying the fact - “That is my mommy” or “that is my daddy” and the child running forward and jumping into their arms. In our family, it had to do more with jumping into the water, believing the truth of my words - “I will catch you. I won't let you drowned!” It wasn't faith until they jumped and you could see it take place.

But Jesus said something had to happen to us as well. In English, the word we get from Jesus is to convert. It doesn't raise many images in our mind. But the word Jesus used was STREPHO. Now that word means “to twist, turn, bend, or steer.” I suddenly have some images in my mind that go with those words and not all of them are positive.

What happened to your childlike faith when you first remember going to the doctor and getting a shot? How about when your parents couldn't obtain that one exact gift on Christmas morning? I'm sure your imagination can take you to any number of twists – turns and bends in your life that brought home that parents and guardians are not deities. But does God turn from not hurting us?

Jesus said it would be hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Paul warns the Roman Christians (15:14-15) and in 1 Corinthians 8:1 he notes knowledge of religion as something “puffs up”. We need a conversion – a twisting and turning and steering toward another direction for childlike faith.

God's words of encouragement and assurance to me that I was more than just his assistant but his son have helped me see more clearly that in a very significant way, my calling to being and elder and church planter in the UMC wasn't a call to ministry. No, this fall in my journaling I wrote that this was a call to brokenness.

I have often looked to John Wesley for guidance in my spiritual journey and to know Mr. Wesley's works is to know that he was full of knowledge and lived one of the most disciplined lives. Childlike faith, Wesley notes is about 3 things...
1.Humble in Heart
2.Ignorant and Helpless
3.Hanging wholly on the heavenly Father.

This week, may I ask: what is preventing you from being more childlike in your faith? What can you do today to humble yourself?


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