What on earth is childlike faith? That’s a question I’ve been asking as I look to discover the built-in joys of following Christ. Lately, I’ve been seeing the answer right in front of my eyes.
Or at least hearing it with my ears …
Just this morning, I was enjoying what I thought would be the last few minutes of peace and calm before our five children ages eight and under began waking up the sun. The minutes were cut into seconds by a boyish six-year-old voice shouting, “Folder, folder, where are you, folder!” The increasing volume of his shout-filled search was only matched by the confidence in his voice that his folder-searching methods would soon pay off. Just as he started into one more,“Oh, fooooolder …” I chuckled, smiled at my wife, and thought to myself, He really believes the folder, my wife, my tired mind, and the sun just need a little shouting to come out and show ourselves.
Turns out Roy, my almost seven-year-old (he wanted you to know that) son, was right. Within seconds, his shouting turned up his missing homework folder, his parents, his barking hound dog, his four siblings, and the stubborn sun that nearly always waits until after he wakes up to come out.
And that’s just a glimpse of Roy’s childlike faith. A few weeks ago, I was going to volunteer at church for one of many Christmas services. Roy came along. Our pastor, Craig Groeschel, presented the Christmas story, emphasizing how God is always with us, not just at Christmastime. Just as he was about to ask for a show of hands from whoever wanted to commit their lives to Christ, I saw Roy’s hand getting ready to spring up. I leaned over to Roy and started this whisper conversation.
Me: Hey buddy, if you do that, it’s for your whole life.
Roy: I know, Dad.
Me: Are you sure you want to give everything to Jesus forever?
Roy: Because I love Jesus!
Roy has been raised in a Christian home around church, so I didn’t want anything forced on him. I wanted him to make this decision for himself. Just to be sure, I started another conversation with Roy in the van that night.
Me: It’s a pretty big deal that you raised your hand, Roy.
Roy: Yeah I know, and I was the only one!
Me: Ha ha. Yeah, I think you were. How do you feel about it?
Roy: Like my heart grew a lot bigger.
Roy is helping me rediscover the childlike faith Jesus talked about in Matthew 18:1-5. Here are three lessons from Roy’s childlike faith.
- Look for God like He’s there. If you don’t feel like you see God working in your life, wake up before the sun and look for Him. If you need to, shout for Him like He’s been there somewhere all along.
- Follow Him like you love Him, because you love Him. There’s no other reason to live the life Jesus calls us to. Not for success, not for rule-following, not so that things will go well for you in the end. Also, be ready to give the reason for the hope that you have. If someone asks why you’re giving your whole life to Jesus, let your answer truly be, “Because I love Jesus.”
- Make more room for Jesus. Wherever Jesus enters your life, it will grow. He will make a place for Himself. If He enters your finances, you will be stretched. If He comes into your friendships, they will go deeper. As Jesus explained in John 13:35, people will know we follow Him by our love. No wonder He grows our hearts a lot bigger.
So how do we have a childlike faith? Well, I don’t think Jesus was just using a figure of speech in Matthew 18. He had actually just called children to Him that people were trying to keep away from Him. So maybe we start by getting on eye-level with kids and learning from their humble-yet-audacious faith. It’s real faith—the kind of faith that inspires true worship.
So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:4 NLT