Monday, July 5, 2010

Childlike Faith pt. 2

Above is my oldest sister and 2 her granddaughters. The girls were pretty excited about this gift of a marble roller. They played with it for a long time. They never gave a gift to anyone else. They never questioned whether they were worthy of the gift. They just excitedly accepted the gift & lived in the happiness that that gift offered.

Children have always been dependent, so they just receive without question. Jesus even accepted gifts without question. As an infant, He was given gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As an adult, He was anointed by an extremely expensive perfume from a lady demonstrating how much she loved Him. His disciples spent three years of their life following closely after Him. Mary sat at Jesus feet and adored Him. He just accepted these gifts of love without question.

How well do you accept gifts? Do you tell people that you don't want their charity? Do you tell people that you can buy it yourself? Do you tell God that you are too guilty to accept His grace? You aren't too guilty. His grace is big enough.

Childlike Faith pt. 3

Here is a picture of my husband with our 4 year old grand niece. She completely trusts Miles not to drop her. This is the kind of trust we need to have.

Children by nature trust. Unfortunately, we have to teach them not to trust some people, and they learn not to trust bkz they get hurt along the way. But I love to watch most young children trust.

Jesus trusted His Father so much, that He laid His life in His hands. "Abba, Father," He said. "everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will." Mark 14:36 (NIV)

Our doubts stand in the way of us having an intimate relationship with our Father. We question why He allows things to happen or why He doesn't answer our prayers like we believe that they should be answered. Who are we to question His plan? We need to trust Him . . . intimately & completely. Sure we are going to have questions bkz we aren't God. We aren't going to be able to comprehend why He allows certain things or whatever we don't understand. If we completely understood God, then He would cease to be God.

We are called to trust Him or to believe in Him. "...Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..." Acts 16:31 NASB. This isn't intellectual assent, but a trust. Faith is active. This means trusting Him to do and be what He says He will do and be. Living life in the freedom that is ours.

It isn't an unhealthy dependence but a childlike trust in Someone Who is completely deserving of our trust. Will you trust Him?

Childlike Faith pt. 1

I'm still reading Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey, and I still love what I'm learning. He relates part of a message by Frederick Buechner that I want to use for 3 posts to help grasp it all well. This is the first post. To the right, you see a classroom of Chinese children taking in every word that their teacher is saying. They believe that what she is saying is true.

And He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change & become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3 NIV

What exactly is He saying here? Why would I want to be like a child? We tell adults not to act like children, and yet He tells us to become like children. Are we wrong? Buechner differentiates between childish and childlike. Here are 3 childlike (not childish) traits that we need to have.

Children have faith. When we exercise radical faith, some people might tell us, "You aren't being logical." Or "Think about what you are doing! It doesn't make sense!" We don't say that to children, we just write it off as them being kids. They don't know any better. But we need to adopt some their faith that is grounded in the Word.

The centurion approached Jesus about healing his servant. The paralytic's friends lowered him through a rooftop. Peter stepped out onto the water. Disciples recognized Jesus who was standing among them to be the same Jesus that died on the cross a few days earlier. Most adults would never do these things. "He is too ill, besides Jesus doesn't have time to come heal your servant." "Are you crazy? Lower me through a roof?!?!" "You can't walk on water!" "I saw Him die with my own eyes! It can't be Jesus!"

These are some instances that Jesus commends their faith. These are the kinds of things that children wouldn't think twice about doing. I hold out little hope for change in some things. I settle for what is instead of hope in what He could do. I don't believe God will heal me, but only make me stronger through the struggle. (Though this last one could be true, it isn't necessarily the truth for all situations.)

We need to have faith that defies reason. I have a friend that defies reason with their faith. I sometimes wonder about them, and inwardly laugh at the ridiculousness of their claims. But after seeing what I've seen through their faith, I don't laugh very much anymore. I catch myself and remember, "Well . . . maybe." But I need to take it further, and pray confidently and in faith, trusting Him to carry out His will. Maybe my faith will change something . . . even me!