Child-like Faith - How Do I Get This?
This topic has been on my heart a lot lately. Child-like faith. What is it and how do we obtain it? As I study Matthew 18, we see Jesus answering his disciples’ question of “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” in this way. Jesus says,
“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 18:3-4.
Just like my title, we all want to know, how to "do" that, because let’s be honest, we are “do-er’s”? What I gather and have experienced is this is something we “get” from the Lord. Not something we “do” on our own. He gives us direction to “turn,” “become,” and “humble” ourselves. Does anyone know how to "do" that on their own? I sure don’t.
I have been reflecting on my own story. Going back in time. Reading past journal entries. Remembering where I came from and what I have gone through. The trend I am seeing is this. When I think about my childhood, when I was a young girl, I was free. Life was simple. In fact, my Mom wrote an entry to me about when I was very little going to church. She said I would try to “sing” like all the rest of the people. At first, she was embarrassed but then she realized people were smiling so she did too. I had very few cares in the world. As I grew older, life started happening. I began to experience hard things. Girl drama in 5th and 6th grade. Being bullied in Junior High. Trying to fit in with the “cool” crowd in High School opened doors for drinking and partying at a young age. Then college where experimenting, shame, discouragement, and my mother’s cancer diagnosis all came to a head. Let down and rejection in relationships plus challenges with “doing” school. Then adulthood came real fast. Loss of a parent, more drinking for fun of course, but as time marched on, my patterns and fun became less fun. My teaching career was very stressful. I looked for peace in worldly things. Tried to drown out the noise with what I thought was “good.” Did many things in my own strength. Turned to alcohol more and more. An unhealthy relationship where boundary lines began to be crossed. I filled my schedule with things I thought were good, but actually contributed to my stress. My passion for teaching and children began to dwindle and my health took a nosedive.
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here; I am painting a real picture of life’s challenges. Many good things happened too to shape me into who I am today, but what I realize is that I did a lot of pushing through. I have always been a cheerful person, optimistic, the glass is ½ full, but not until coming to know the Lord. Humbling myself before him. Turning away from my sins. Asking for help, crying out for him to change me, shape me, dig out the ick, have I experienced true freedom. God has slowly peeled back the layers. This process has not been overnight or easy. He has healed hurts and wounds. Patiently walked with me through tough seasons and experiences. Let me learn, just like any good Father would do. He is in the heart changing business friends. Now, after all these years, he is making me look more and more like a child. I have less worry of what others will think. I enjoy being who God has made me to be. My schedule is much more open to experience what comes my way. Free to speak and laugh and love those around me without restraint.
I believe that is why Jesus says that the kingdom of God belongs to the children. In the literal sense that he wants the children to come to him, but not just “little” children. If you are a child of God, he is talking to you. He is very direct in saying that if we do not receive the kingdom of God like a child then we shall not enter it (Mark 10:15).
What do you think of children, what picture comes to your mind? I see littles running, laughing, jumping, skipping, dancing, singing songs they make up, being creative, truly being themselves. Of course, not always joyful, but they are free. They don’t have anything holding them back. That is what God wants for you. No strings, no chains, no weight of the world holding you back from what and who he has created you to be. It is a process. It takes time depending on what you have walked through to be stripped of those burdens and sins. My Dad always says “it takes time to unwind what has been wound.” But God wants to do that. He wants you to unwind the hurt, the pain, change the sinful patterns, release you to walk, skip, jump, dance, groove into his arms and experience the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
When you hear “child-like” what comes to your mind? Pray and ask God to experience that. I will be praying with you too! God wants you to be free in him. Free to enjoy and experience all he has to give now and forever. Let’s walk and seek freedom in him together.
*Photo Credit: Mom and Dad back in the 80's