CHILDLIKE DEPENDENCE
Monday, June 19, 2017
  Nehemiah 12-13 | Acts 4:23-37

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” —Matthew 18:1

What makes for greatness where it matters most? What makes a person significant in the kingdom of heaven and great in the eyes of God? The disciples asked Jesus a similar question. Matthew 18:2-3 says, “He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Jesus went on to say, “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Children held little status in Jesus’s day. They were to be seen and not heard, and even today, we are conditioned to believe we are to grow out of childlikeness. We see it as immaturity, but Jesus says the reverse is true. Acquiring the nature of a child is a key principle in entering God’s kingdom. We are to grow into childlikeness, which involves a disposition of hope, adventure, wonder and trust.

One of the beautiful qualities children possess is that they are totally trusting and dependent upon their parents or guardians. Physically, we grow from dependence to independence, but spiritually, we are to grow into a childlike trust and dependency upon our heavenly Father. In fact, dependence in the Christian life is a mark of maturity, whereas independence and self-assurance will rule out trust and dependency.

A child’s life is also one of risk. We are protective of our children and rightly so, but when we stop being childlike ourselves, we start to play it safe. Our Christian lives are then reduced to a comfortable set of beliefs rather than an adventurous encounter with God. We end up checking the boxes: “Yes, I believe this and this,” but know little of experiencing God in ways that will astound us.

There is still a child in each of us, but we can be too quick to grow out of our childhood and too quick to rebuke the child in us. Regardless of age, it is never too late to grow into childlike trust and dependence on God. We love the innocence of children, their sense of wonder, curiosity, spontaneity and fun. The Christian life should be fun. God loves play and we would do well to recapture the exhilaration of youth. In Zechariah 8:5, God gives a vision of the Jewish people coming back to Jerusalem after being exiled in Babylon. He says, “The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.”

As someone once said, “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when no one is watching.”

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to live with childlike trust and dependency on You, and may my experiences of You be filled with wonder and awe. Thank You, Lord.


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