There is something about the Kingdom of God that is only seen in children.
Even with the explicit call to “grow up” directed at Christ-followers, (Eph 4:15) there is an element of childhood that believers must retain—a childlike faith. Children believe what they are told. The growth process is one of learning who to listen to who and who to ignore. Choose your image from the Trinity:
- Sit in Father’s lap and listen to Him.
- Walk with your Savior, Jesus, and listen to Him.
- Think deeply and powerfully with the Holy Spirit within your heart and listen to Him.
Listen like a child and believe what you hear. This infantile innocence, this toddler trust, this adolescent adoration is the pathway to maturity.
Two Contrasting Terms
We use two similar but distinct terms for qualities of youth: childish and childlike.
- To be childish is to be annoying, noisy, and a trial to all who come near.
- To be childlike is to be trusting, simple, innocent, wonder-struck, and a blessing to all.
When Jesus said we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of God, He was talking about being childlike, not childish.
Time with the Father
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He placed the context of prayer in the father/child relationship. For those who came up fatherless, realizing this requires imagination. Put away memories of how it was back then and cultivate visions of how it should be right now. “Our Father” is kind and loving. He smiles at us, not based on our momentary performance, but based on His eternal love. He remembers how He made us out of dust; nothing we have done or failed to do reduces or increases His love for us. Our obedience to His Word pleases Him as does our focus on Him. The promise is that if we will draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to us! (James 4:8) When we spend time with the Father, He holds us closer to His heart.
Walking with the Son
Big brothers are something very special in this world. Many of us had one, and others were one, while all of us can imagine the benefit of having someone ahead of you in years and beside you in spirit. Yes, Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords on a Throne of Majesty in eternal glory surrounded by adoring angels and saints singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” But, He is also our travelling companion with a shepherd’s staff to keep us on the straight and narrow. Our songs are replete with references to our “Companion in the way,” as an ancient prayer puts it. I’ll choose just one:
Though sometimes He leads trough waters deep,
Trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See His footprints all the way.
The Abiding Spirit
Many children have imaginary friends, wonderful, safe, dependable, invisible playmates. We also have an invisible friend, The Blessed Holy Spirit of God, and He is not a product of our imagination; He is very real! He whispers truths to us and shows us spiritual things we would otherwise never see. He empowers our time with the Father and illumines our walk with the Son.
This childlike faith is sweet and constant and believable. Let us enjoy Father’s lap, Jesus’ companionship, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. What blessed children of God are we!
Luke: 18:5-17 NKJV
Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Matthew 6:5-9 NKJV
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
Jesus, Be Our Companion
Lord, Jesus, stay with us, for the evening is at hand and day is past; be our Companion in the Way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope that we may know You as Your are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant us this for the sake of Your love. Amen
He Keeps Me Singing
Words and Music: L. B. Bridges
1.There’s within my heart a melody, Jesus whispers sweet and low,
“Fear not I am with thee. Peace be still, In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest name I know,
Fill my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.
2. All my life was wrecked by sin and strife, Discord filled my heart with pain.
Jesus swept across the broken strings, Stirred the slumbering chords again.
3. Feasting on the riches of His grace, Resting ‘neath His shelt’ring wing,
Always looking on His smiling face, That is why I shout and sing.
4. Though sometimes He leads trough waters deep, Trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, See His footprints all the way.
5. Soon He’s coming back to welcome me, Far beyond the starry sky.
I shall wing my flight to world’s unknown. I shall reign with Him on high.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.