Ahh, childhood! I have wonderful memories of my childhood and was blessed with much freedom to roam and explore and discover, and a great family. I grew up with an older brother, David, and a younger brother, Reed. They both held very different roles in my life. David is almost seven years older; Reed is less than two years younger. David was my stability and protector. Reed was my friend and fellow instigator. I love them both dearly and am so thankful to have them in my life.
When I was in second grade we lived out in the boonies on a farm in Duluth, Georgia. It was a great place for us kids ~ fields, cows, a barn filled with hay and kittens, snakes, and the ever-constant Georgia pines. Reed and I were quite creative when we played all around that farm ~ and fearless. One of my favorite memories with Reed is a game we made up, well actually it was probably more like a competition. There were a couple of pine trees out by the barn that were just perfect for our “swaying game” since they were about the same size and pretty close together. We would climb as high as we could go and start swaying back and forth in our trees. Sometimes we would aim for each other and sometimes we would sway in the same direction and see who could bend their tree the farthest. It was great fun! And honestly, I don’t remember ever even considering the possibility of danger or fear of any kind.
I believe having that basic faith in the goodness of life to be one of my greatest blessings. The confidence I had in the love and care of my family and the freedom to explore and learn without unfounded fears has given me a solid basis to apply those same principles in my walk of faith.
Babies are not born with fear. Children who are cared for and loved and given freedom to learn naturally usually do not develop unhealthy fears. Fear is a learned behavior. In our journey of faith, fear is one of the primary reactions we need to unlearn! Fear stifles our faith. Fear spits in the face of God. Fear keeps us from experiencing the fullness of the promises of God. Fear often keeps us from listening to and obeying His leading in our lives. Fear reveals our true belief, or unbelief as the case may be, in the character of Yahweh. Fear distorts our hearing; the voice of the Almighty becomes something scary, something to avoid at all costs rather than the main focus of our direction and security – like sheep following their beloved shepherd.
Jesus Himself reminded us that we need faith like that of a child. In fact, He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” We cannot cling to our sophistication or worldliness or vast knowledge and walk in His Kingdom. We must let go of our selves, or more correctly our right to ourselves, if we want to KNOW Him and flourish in His Kingdom. Being in a kingdom means having a KING. We, here in America, have a bit of a disadvantage in understanding that concept. WE are more about independence and self-promotion and self-advantage. Surrender and humbleness are not favored in our vocabulary. Ask yourself, where does your citizenship truly lie? Is it in this earthly nation or in heaven – Yahweh’s kingdom?
As for me ~ I want to be blessed as a child of the One true King! Therefore I choose the faith that comes from childlikeness ~ absolute confidence in the One who created me and then died to redeem me! How about you?
Want to brush up on some of the things Jesus said about being childlike? Check out these passages:
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:1-4 (NLT)
…little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV)
The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Matthew 21:15-16 (NLT)
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16 (NLT)
One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17 (NLT)