“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
I love the story of Jesus and the children who wanted to see him. Who does not want to cheer when Jesus rebuke the disciples for trying to “shoo” away the children? Can’t you imagine Jesus motioning for the kids to come to him? I envision the children crawling up on his lap and Jesus laughing and playing with them. Truly, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
The word “children” is found in the Bible 1,814 times. In the Old Testament God called Israel his children and then in the New Testament believers are often referred to as children and God as our Father. It’s an imagery that beautifully calls us to to see our new relationship through God’s grace. I believe that by examining the character traits of a child we can learn ways to mature and grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
When my oldest daughter was small my husband would gentle toss her into the air and catch her. I can still remember her giggles and laughter. After each toss she would say ,“Do it again, Daddy.” Christy never doubted that he would catch her. The first characteristic we can learn from children is TRUST. No matter the “ups and downs” of life, God is always in control and is there to “catch” us. The more we stop trying to “fix” the situation and “rescue” ourselves, the more we let go and fall into our Fathers strong arms.
Have you ever been around a child that really, really, really wanted something? Children do not give up easily, they are PERSISTENT. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” As a child of God, we can learn that our prayers should be for one another and should be “fervent”. To better understand the word fervent look at a few of its synonyms : emotional, feverish, fiery, intense, passionate, and vehement. In other words, we pray for the lost, the discouraged, the battling, the sick, those in need; just like a child goes to their Father asking for something they really want, they go persistently.
How fervently and consistently do you pray?
Have you ever gone for a walk with a small child ? Everything amazes them. The rocks you walk past every day, become an amazing treasure for their pockets. The small dandelions become a bouquet for their Mom. The clouds look like elephants and race cars. They hear the birds sing, the distant train blow its whistle and cannot wait to run when home comes into sight. To them everything is a joy ! James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all JOY…”. As a Christian the difficult part of this is the word “all”. How can we count the difficult parts of our walk with God as “joy”? The key is not the circumstances of the journey, but the who of our journey. We can have joy even in the longest most draining paths by holding tightly to the hand of our Heavenly Father.
One of my favorite things about children is their Imagination and their ability to See No Limits . They believe that an empty refrigerator box can become a rocket ship. Chairs and blankets make tents and tunnels. The pillows spread out on a living room floor are stones floating on a sea of lava. A child sees the possible hidden in a sea of impossibilities. As a Christian God calls us to believe he is the Lord over the “impossible”. He can save the dirtiest and most broken of sinners. He can open doors that appear to be closed. God can provide when your pocket is empty. He can fulfill your God-given dreams that no one else thinks it can be done. God can heal and leave the doctors shaking their heads in disbelief. God loves to do the impossible, simply because he can. Jesus said in Matthew 10:26, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Grown-ups often hide their true selves behind masks. Children are the total opposite; they have no filters and make their feelings transparent. They don’t hide their pains or their opinions. They will tell their Mom’s boss, “You smell funny.” They have no problem telling the lady behind them at church, “You sing too loud.” They boldly tell when something tastes “yucky” , looks weird or hurts their feelings. This can provide many embarrassing and even funny moments for a parent.
While I don’t think you should tell everyone exactly what you think, I do believe God calls us to be TRANSPARENT before Him. We should never hide behind a mask, when God so clearly knows our heart. We need to be honest and bring God our hurts, flaws, insecurities, failures and brokenness. Only God can pull down the mask and make you the child he created you to be.
Children are spontaneous, often acting without fear of failure. A child leaps, bounces, skips and jumps without knowing where they may land. They attempt to build and create without fear that their creation will fall apart. Children just “Go”.
As adults we tend to look at all the things that can go wrong and pull back from the challenge. God calls his children to “go” and let Him take care of the details. His “go” may send you across the street or around the world. But you will never know the amazing adventure He has in store until you forget your fear of failure and take that first spontaneous leap of faith.
God delights in His children. He loves to see us grow and mature in our relationship with Him. Ask yourself, does my “grown-up” life reflect the lessons God is teaching me as His child?