Childlike Faith; September 3, 2021

Luke 18:17 “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

This is a famous statement by Jesus, but the question arises, how does a child receive things? The thing that stands out to me is that there is no pretension, and there is no thought of “worthiness.” If they want it, they receive it, and their delight can be a wonder to see. We “adults” put on so many airs! We want to earn things, to be able to say we got them by our own effort, when the kingdom of God cannot be attained that way. In some ways we rebel against Paul’s famous statement that salvation occurs by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:18) Where’s the pride in that? As Paul explicitly says in the very next verse, there can be no “pride of achievement” in salvation. A little child has no real “pride of achievement.” Actually, they have no pride at all! If they are secure in their parents’ love, and they should be, then if they want something, they want it, period. We should be that way about God’s kingdom and His righteousness, as Jesus so famously told us. (Matthew 6:33) We aren’t to be passive and self-centered about it all, as Paul went on to explain. (Ephesians 2:20) We should apply all that God gives us, to do that for which He gave it to us, but worries about whether we can do that shouldn’t keep us from receiving in the first place. That’s another thing about a little child: they don’t worry. As they grow they do have to learn that things don’t always turn out the way they want them to, but unless they have been abused, anxiety is far from the heart of a little child. Anxiety is directly counter to faith, Our attitude should be, “If Daddy wants to give it to me, then it’s good, and I want it.” We need to remember another thing Jesus said: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

This is a struggle even I have. I get all wrapped up in “adulting” and fail to receive from my Father in childlike wonder. I have had problems with pride most of my life, and as I’ve said, pride has no part in receiving the kingdom of God. By His grace He has shown me that I am in no way “worthy,” but that He has provided eternal salvation for me anyway. There is every reason for gratitude to be the overwhelming theme of my life. I am grateful, but I still allow myself to be sidetracked by all sorts of things that are ultimately of no significance at all. As Paul so beautifully said, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Rather than get wrapped up in the frustration of the moment, I need to be looking forward in childlike anticipation of the next good thing my Daddy has for me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the beautiful dream You gave me this morning of a congregation singing I Surrender All in acapella harmony. May I indeed surrender all to You, knowing that what You have for me is far greater and more wonderful than anything I can imagine. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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