Just couldn’t resist re-posting this today. Maybe I am projecting my need for continuous “child-like innocence” in my journey to you? At any rate-allow Jesus into your inner child! You will enjoy Him! He’s not ‘boring’-like we tend to be.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 N.I.V.
There is a huge difference between living in child-like simplicity and childish self focus. In childlike simplicity we can live free of pretense and masks. But a life of childishness will be more difficult. If we don’t put childish ways behind us we will remain a child in an adult body; otherwise known as an adult-child in Christ. As such, we have a difficult journey discerning the difference between childlikeness and childishness.
Jesus will embrace us at both points. He helps us celebrate healthy “child-likeness” and provides the grace to deal with lapses into “childishness”. This internal tug-of-war sometimes goes on several times each day. Putting childish ways behind you seems to be a life-long endeavor. But, Jesus never tires of our genuine struggle. His patience is so winsome-even when I go over the precipice of pouting. Just ask my precious wife. She’s been there, done that-on Jesus’ behalf, of course.
I realize this struggle involves seeming complicated issues. But, it really is simpler than we imagine. Yes, during my “childish” struggles, I am prone to ‘sin’. In that state, I also tend to behave like an unhealed wounder, instead of a wounded healer. Jesus continually calls me to run back into His arms of grace and be restored to “childlike” innocence!
That is why we can ‘take up our cross daily’ in fellowship with Jesus. Our ‘daily cross’ is where our childish self-will intersects with His desire for us to enjoy ‘innocent ’childlikeness. Thus, ‘putting away childishness’ can be more the norm than the exception. His grace and mercy are our hope of ‘growing through the issues of life’.
“Who gets the highest rank in God’s Kingdom? For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the Kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s Kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” Matthew 11:1b-5, The Message.
Do you do “simplicity” as bad as me? I have a PhD in complicating life-not a good degree or pedigree. FYI: PhD stands for-’piled higher and deeper’. My friend Brother Mickey says, “If you’re going to be dumb, you better be tough.” Complicating is ‘dumb’–simple is ‘smart’. Maybe it’s all about developing Papa’s sense of humor.
Let’s see: SIMPLE, ELEMENTAL, CHILDLIKE…allow me to give a sophisticated and educated commentary. NOT!!!! No, this is how it works–he jumps on me and starts tickling me in that special spot that only he knows about. You have one also-a special spot. It is just too cool that Jesus does this with me everyday-even when I am not paying attention.
“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3, NIV
Notice: He didn’t call a Theologian, Lawyer, Bible Scholar, Physician, Prophet, Philosopher, Educator, Politician, Parent…I think you get the point. These were mostly adults he was addressing. Jesus doesn’t call the adult or even the adult-child within me. He calls to the little child, deep in there, lost among adult-like voices.
Maybe; just maybe, if we start listening to His voice as the only adult voice, and stop filtering His voice through all those adult-like noises I mentioned above-we might hear the new ‘heavenly’, child-like sounds. The sounds of joy, laughter, light or bigheartedness, hope, play, fun, merry-making (okay ‘partying’), dancing, singing, creativeness, imagination, beauty, sweet fragrance, true vision, true self, grace, mercy, faith, hope, and love. Yes, they all have their own distinct, ‘heavenly’ sound. But only the child-like can hear them.
One measure of maturity is learning how to live in innocence and child-likeness? Joy, genuineness, humility, simplicity, mercy, grace, forgiveness, playfulness, true worship, a Heavenly Papa-like sense of humor, disarming transparency and real, heart level authenticity-(those are adult-like words for being who you truly are and liking it) can become the standard or plumb line for how you are doing.
Child-likeness calls us to live from ‘the heart Jesus gave us’ and is always the best starting and ending point? What if learning to live from that heart became the whole point? There you can be ‘nurtured daily’ by childlikeness. How about starting or continuing that journey to the place of childlikeness today? The awesome song posted will bless your inner child in Jesus! Enjoy.