Turn and Become Like Children

Turn and Become Like Children

I can’t tell you the past couple of days that I’ve had. I can only attempt to put them into words. The depth of love and wisdom that’s been bestowed on me has just been unreal. For that reason, I’m breaking the chain in my resistance series for today.

It started yesterday with a solid heart to heart with Blake Bergstrom, one of the pastors at my church. He told me some things I needed to hear and encouraged me in some important ways. It continued today with my good friend Travis Robertson, who has been an enormous blessing in more ways than I can count.

Tonight was the perfect culmination. The father of a good friend of mine was in town on business, so he offered to take our mens’ group to dinner. The eight of us gathered and had an incredible meal. I promise you, the food had nothing to do with it.

My friend’s father has experienced huge success in the business world. He truly is brilliant, but we didn’t talk about that. Instead, we sat and listened to story after story about the incredible ways that God has shown up in his life. We sat and drank from the fire hose.

Real Power/Real Knowledge

There was power in that room. The kind of power that changes lives and transforms minds. It wasn’t the power of this man’s words, but that of God the Holy Spirit in that very moment.

Story after story, I sat there like a child – my eyes wide, heart open, and utterly captivated.

I heard words I needed to hear. I learned lessons that I needed to learn. It was two hours of the most valuable education one could hope for. On the drive home I couldn’t help but think, “This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said we would have to become like children.”

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 ESV

Children Without Pride

The proud man says, “I’m a man. I call the shots. I rule my world. You can’t teach me anything because I already know everything that I need to know. God doesn’t know me. I don’t trust Him.”

The humble child says, “I am a child. I’m powerless to call any of the shots. I don’t even understand my world, let alone rule it. You can teach me everything because I don’t know anything. God knew me before He created the world. I will trust Him.”

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God ; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1 ESV

Children Who Would Listen

If you sit a child down with a good story book and you tell it right, you’re going to have that kid in the palm of your hand. She will stare at you wide-eyed and hang on to every last word. Kids love a good story.

We do too, but we get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget to sit down and listen.

  • What would it look like if we could take that level of captivation and apply it to the story that God is telling right now?
  • What if we could sit in absolute awe and wonder of His work in history?
  • What would we learn if we sat at the foot of the cross and stared in absolute wonder at the majesty of a holy and righteous God that would pay the tremendous price that we deserved to pay?

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1,2 NIV

Children Of Unconditional Affection

You don’t have to tell my two year old nephew to love his mother. He just does. Every little bit of him screams out complete and utter adoration for Mom. Little does he know that, before he was ever spoken into existence, she loved him. She loved him first.

Ours is a God who would show His love by sacrificing His only Son so that we might be saved. We find the perfect example of love in the Gospel. It’s not because we loved Him or asked Him to do it, but because He loved us first. In Christ, we are His children.

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:11,12 NIV

Children Willing To Follow

A recurring theme in the night’s stories was this idea of relinquishing control. So many times in our own lives we presume more leadership than we truly possess. We try so hard to cut our own path. In my life I can feel like my plans and wishes dictate the course that I get to travel.

I need to remember that I am the child. He is the Father. The more I struggle to be the man in this relationship between me and God, the more I am humbled. He will knock me down off of my own pedestal time and again until I learn what it truly means to follow.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 ESV

Children Who Would Obey

Think about your children. You just want them to listen, don’t you? You just want them to do what you tell them to do and to avoid the things you tell them avoid. You’re not trying to be cruel. You’re not trying to keep them from having a good life. You just want what’s best.

We tend to look at God and think of Him as an oppressive father; one who would keep us from having good things. Or, we can look at Him as the loving Father who would passionately want to keep us from having bad things. Your choice here will define the whole of your faith.

Imagine your two year old getting ready to put his hand on a hot stove and you calling him to repent (a.k.a. stop doing what he’s doing.)

How would you have him respond? Would you want him to look at you as an oppressive daddy; simply looking to get in the way of his good time? Or, would you want him to trust you enough to simply listen and obey?

Paul tells us in His first letter to the Church of Corinth that the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men. That said, we need to trust that He simply knows better. Our sin is the path to death. Jesus is the path to life.

God is the loving Dad who doesn’t want us to burn our hands on the stove.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 1 Peter 1:13,14 NIV

I’m praying for more opportunities to simply become like a child and let God speak to me through His Word and through His people. Will you join me?

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  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    “We tend to look at God and think of Him as an oppressive father; one who would keep us from having good things.”

    This is how I’ve seen God for the longest time. Not really because He kept me from doing a lot of fun things but rather that the last decade plus for me has been a season of trial after trial. Job loss. Miscarriages. Divorce. Apartment Fire. Special needs child. On and on and on…

    I kept looking at God almost as if he was the father in the prodigal son story but when I came home there was no fatted calf but rather a bucket of pig slop and having to clean up after my brother’s party. Sure, He was providing my needs and now and then we had a brief moment of joy but I didn’t see the power of God moving in a way that brought me to my knees in awe of His goodness.

    It’s taken a long time for that mindset to shift. I’ll admit there are still times where we have a difficult situation and I look up and wonder if He even cares. I wonder if I’ll ever reach the point that He will give me the desires I know He put into my heart or if there’s still some reason I’m “not ready.”

    A lot of days just hurt. I just lay in bed and ask “Father, do you not love me?” I look at my kids and how I want to give them good things. I get them gifts or items because I know they would love them…for no other reason than I can provide that gift to them. And if God loves me more than I love my kids…

    Sorry to go so long in my comment. You just hit a real nerve with me today. It’s a great post, Kenny.

  • Ben Reed

    Count me in, Kenny. Praying for opportunities.

  • bcash

    Now I regret leaving….haha, glad you guys are pressing on!

  • http://twitter.com/lindseygilstrap Lindsey

    Great post, Kenny! I love it!

  • http://websitesgiveback.com/blog/ Elena Patrice

    Yes. Beautiful post – thank you for sharing.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thank you very much for reading, Elena. I appreciate the kind words.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    Ken, I love this. The idea that Jesus’ exhortation to become like a child is simply about us having childlike faith is a mistake a lot of people make. A few years ago, I read Matthew 18:3 and decided to do an in-depth study of the topic, resulting in 9 traits He may have been referring to. There is some overlap between the things you list here and the ones on my list. Would love to have you drop by to check it out: http://www.middletree.net/child_intro.asp