Like a Child

Mat 18:1-6

Jesus has been teaching on the Kingdom of God and at this point, towards the end of his teachings, he gives us a clue to how we enter this new kingdom.
Jesus is full of surprises and this is no exception. The answer is that we need to change and become as little children!
This is very liberating! We don't have to have it all together. We don't have to be perfect. All we need to do is come to the Father like a child.

Technology and modern communications have made it possible for this generation of children to do and experience things previously impossible. Bur despite all our advances society almost makes children grow up too fast. Across the world children have had to go through unimaginable horrors. All of which can contribute to us losing a childlike spirit and heart. We quickly forget what it means to enjoy the carefree attitude of a child.

Yet Jesus calls us back to this attitude if we want to come into his Father's kingdom, back into relationship with Him.

Our growing up inevitably means that we learn new skills, we become more independent and self sufficient. We lose that dependability on others.

To come with a childlike spirit means letting go of our pride. Pride is not found in the heart of God - in fact it contributed to Satan's downfall (Is 14:11-14).

That's why we have to change. This is an attitude of heart not behaviour!

What is a child like?

A child is trusting

Ps 22:9 A child simply believes that his parents will provide everything that is needed, when it is needed!
He starts life on the basis of trust!
God wants us to come to Him in the same way - simply believing Him for our needs.
His character is consistent and He is completely trustworthy.

A child is dependent

A child's life is in someone else's hands. He is totally dependent on another!
As adults we try to do things on our own but God calls us to rely on Him.
Mat 6:25-33 - trust Him to provide.

A child does not plan ahead

A child does not work it out in advance.
If God says something don't try to work it out - let it happen!
Let Him provide , let Him lead.

A child is carefree

A child is not normally concerned with risk!
He has a go and only worries about falling flat on his face when it happens!
Because our Father is so dependable and safe we can be carefree in His presence.
We can take risks of faith - the resources of Heaven are at our disposal.
1 Peter 5:7 - cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.
Ps 55:22 - cast your cares on Him - He never lets the righteous fall.
God does not want a show or a performance - He wants us to be free in His presence.

A child is innocent

An unspoilt simplicity!
Mat 10:16
We spend too much time seeking popularity, trying to impress or please others.
We hide our real self behind masks and protective layers.
In Father's presence we can remove the veils. We can be ourselves!

A child needs to be loved

We were made to be loved!
is LOVE. When we come to Him we come to Love - the perfect love that drives out all fear.
If we don't find real love we look for satisfaction in counterfeits.
God will never let us down because His love is perfect in every way.
1 John 3:1 - He lavishes His love on us.

A child needs his parents

He needs the love and security that parents bring.
He needs direction, discipline and provision.
He needs love, nurture and care.
Parents can be like safety nets guiding children through a difficult world, providing boundaries where necessary and releasing them when and where appropriate.
God will provide this for His children.

Children imitate their parents

Children do what their parents do!
John 6:19 - Jesus imitated his Father.
Eph 5:1 Paul encourages us to imitate God.
As we imitate Him so we take on His identity.

Children know how to rest

They race around all day and then crash out.
Jesus lived a busy and pressurised life but he knew how to rest.
He took time out with his Father just to be with Him.
His heart was at rest, so much so that he could sleep through a storm.
Ps 131 He has stilled and quieted my heart.
Mat 11:28-30 Come all who are weary - He
will give us rest.
Heb 4:9-11 A Sabbath rest for the people of God.
We, too, can enter that rest!

Children use their imagination

They dream big dreams. Nothing is impossible in their creative minds.
They are full of imagination and creativitiy.
Eph 3:20-21 - God will do more than we can ask or even imagine.
1 Cor 2:9-10 - God has a big plan for us all.

A child is never satisfied

They always want more. Come back and ASK. John 7:37-38 - if anyone is thirsty come and drink.
If you ask then streams of living water will flow.
Is 55:1 Don't need money, if you want it - come and get it!
Ps 103:5 God satisfies your desires.

Children know how to play

Children love to play - they make it happen!
Is 55:12 - go out with joy!
Mal 4:2 leap like calves released from the stall!
The Jewish nation knew how to have parties.
Being a child of God releases joy in us.
Luke 15 - joy in Heaven!

Coming to Father as a child

Let us come to our Father with a childlike attitude, simply placing our little hand in His big hand.
It is a process of laying down ourselves and finding that we are really very little and that God is BIG - VERY BIG.
To come in this way means that we have to change (Mat 18:3) - the NASB calls this a conversion.
Letting go of our pride and independence is a humbling experience but in doing so we find that we have a great big God.
A relationship like this is based on 'being' not 'doing'.
We have been trained to be strong but where is the power?
Jesus knew what it was to come with a childlike heart and his life was very powerful.
2 Cor 12:9 God's power is perfected in our weakness!
If we can let go of our 'power' and come humbly to our Father then great things can happen.
God cannot fill a closed heart. A child has an open heart and one like this can be filled with the Father's love. When we rely on Him in this way there is no limit to what He can do with us!

This is a simple, yet powerful way to live our Christian life. It is the way that Jesus not only taught, but modelled as well. He showed us the key to an intimate relationship with the Father - coming as a child!

"I lay aside my pride
I lay aside my fear as I bow my heart
Before Your throne
I will put my faith in You and open up my heart
For Father, like a child
I want to come

And I will run into Your open, waiting arms
It's here that I am safe, for You are strong
It's here I find the truth of who I am in You
When like a child, I choose to come".

©Sara Harvey - Declaration Music 2002