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 18:3(NIV)
I was really young, my favorite book was "Thank you God for Summer". I think I made my parents read it to me almost every night before bedtime. I loved it so much in fact, that I was absolutely devastated when my parents took it away as punishment for disobedience. I can still picture the illustration on the cover of the book. I don't remember its contents, however.
When many of us are young Christians, living in the earliest part of the critical decade, and new in our faith, we approach every aspect of it with a child-like joy. Songs of worship sound sweeter, fellowship with others results in tremendous spiritual growth, and time spent alone with God is meaningful and deep. We crave daily input from God's word, and feel ill-at-ease without it.
As we grow older we fail to be as awe-inspired by the little things as we once were. Going to church can become a habit. Tithing can seem like an obligation rather than an offering. Fellowshipping is an excuse to get out of the house instead of a chance to grow with other Christians.
If God's mercies are new every morning, and he delights in us on a daily basis, then what excuse do we have for our complacent attitudes? Doesn't God deserve that we find daily joy in spending time with him? Shouldn't we embrace each morning with an exuberant heart, excited as a young child who can't wait to spend a day with her daddy?
We forget what it means to have faith like a child. We become cynical and dismissive of the daily miracles that God chooses to share with us. I myself am guilty of thinking that God's blessings can seem common-place. I let my grown-up thought process tell my heart that to be child-like is to be immature or flighty.
I am fairly certain that this is not how God thinks of child-like faith, nor is it the attitude he wants from any of us. I believe there is a two-fold reason that God calls us his children. One is that we need to be aware that God is an authority figure, and we need to submit ourselves to him. The other serves to remind us of the attitude of faith we are to exhibit.
Today I plan to once again start thanking God for summer and ask him to forgive me for acting too much like a stuffy grown-up. I don't want to remember only the cover illustration of what God has done for me. I want to completely know and internalize its contents so that no matter how old I get, I can still have a child-like heart that delights and joys in my faith.