The kids have it right, don’t they? You get a group of them together, and pretty soon they are laughing and playing. Things are so uncomplicated. They are willing to try and fail without reservation. And what about the joy…all that sweet and innocent joy!
In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says that unless we turn from our sins and become like little children, we will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. He places a premium on being childlike. He values their simple innocence. And He appreciates their trust.
But as adults, being like a child is not as easy as it sounds. Jesus is not talking about immaturity or lack of responsibility. He is asking us to re-learn what it means to be childlike.
The hard part is, we have had so many life experiences. We have lived long enough to fool ourselves into thinking that it really is all about us.
We struggle to forgive, and it’s even harder to forget.
We are self-conscious, when we want to be free.
Our fears are real, and they have been reinforced time and time again.
We have “matured”, and we have brought all that baggage into our relationships.
We want to trust, and to have hope…to love and to have peace.
We know we should “get it”…but it feels almost impossible to adopt a new, childlike way of living.
So we experience hurdles in our relationships with God, and that complicates our relationships with ourselves and others.
So what can we do about it? It’s not as hard as we make it out to be. It all starts with our relationships with God.
We need to be innocent and simple like children when we come to Him. When we seek after the joy we find in His presence, He fills our hearts with peace. Our complications melt away when we soak in the simplicity that is in Jesus. When God reminds us that it truly isn’t about our performance, trust is restored.
Just this week a man at my church shared how he has had many serious heart surgeries, and now he’s facing another one. In the past, he used to be so fearful that he would almost turn the car around on the way to his surgery. But over the past year he has been learning to walk hand-in-hand with Jesus. And after learning how to trust God with faith like a child, in the face of this upcoming surgery he is completely filled with God’s peace. He truly doesn’t fear the surgery and is fine with whatever God wants the outcome to be. That is practical evidence of a childlike faith.
As we trust God with everything, we can spread God’s love in ways we have never known. We become unafraid to truly love others with the love of God, even though we have been hurt in the past. We can receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, past and present, and pass that love and forgiveness along.
And more than anything, we are able to love God, love ourselves through the lens of the Cross, and love others with the love that Jesus has shown us.