A Little Understanding – Childlike vs Childish Faith
What is the floor plan of a Christ follower supposed to look like? What is the floor plan of the collective of Christ followers supposed to look like? As you may have guessed based on my previous blog post A Little Understanding – The Floor Plan (part 1), it is nothing like the blur of needs, wants and extras we have bought into.
Just because I have become a “new creation” does not mean everything has been taken care of. Our lives and the life of the church should not be arranged around the idea of completeness. There may be less of the blatant sinful behaviours but that does not make us immune to living life in a “me” centred way. I may not fill my need for more with overindulgent, careless and drunken sexual behaviour but to complete my floor plan for living based on this alone, leaves no room for expansion…
Sadly the process of maturing may be in danger of extinction in western culture.
We like to have defined sides, something to be for and something to be against. Life is a tug of war that resembles children trying to “decide” who is going to get to play with the toy! People who grow older without really growing up in everyday life often end up the same way in their walk with Christ. The floor plan for their lives is simplistic, laid out with no room to grow beyond their childish, black and white understanding of life as a Christ follower. Do good not bad, avoid hell.
Christ paid too high a price when He died on the cross to have His sacrifice turned into a “get out of hell free card”. His goal was not a, do this and don’t do that and eternal life is yours list. This is not to say that there aren’t things that we need to avoid and things we need to do, but instead there is more to following Christ, more to placing our faith in Him than; in with the good and out with the bad.
Childlike faith is described by Jesus..
…in Luke 18:17 (NIV) as He introduces us to the trust we must have to be His follower. “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” A child puts complete trust in the person providing for their needs. There is no limited trust factor such as I count on my mommy to feed me but have no faith in her ability to put on my diaper and clothes or daddy may know how to put my bike together but he’s not telling me how to ride. A child believes that their parents know how everything works and can teach, guide and protect them in all cases. Like a child, we need to put complete trust in our Heavenly Father’s plan, not just His plan for salvation but for our entire lives. God’s way, in God’s time, done with God’s chosen resources. Sound familiar?
When we accept God’s plan for our salvation, we see our need for more of Him.
We begin to understand that more of Him means less of the world. A mental list based on biblical truths forms around the idea that I must do certain things while avoiding other things to please God. It is childlike faith that allows us to believe that God has a way that is better than the world’s, but it is childish or immature faith that limits our need for more of God to a black and white list of dos and don’ts. More of God means less of me, less of me means less of my wants as well as my desires for extras.
We can’t limit our relationship with Christ to a stay out of trouble mentality, mixed with a make God happy schedule of daily and weekly rituals. In doing this our lives are lived in a simplistic one room floor plan. Is becoming a Christ follower so limited? Is it so infantile, such a childish concept that all we need to do is avoid the bad, do the good?
Childlike faith in Jesus is the entryway.
In John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus describes Himself as the entryway to God, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is the part of the design that allows our need for more of God to be met. We are going in a bad direction, away from God until we turn completely around and head the opposite direction toward God, through Jesus.
We follow Christ into the entryway of our new lives with childlike faith believing that Jesus is the only way to God and we need more of God. Childlike faith gets us in the entryway, childish faith makes us stay there. Childish faith is a one room layout that never goes beyond our initial need for more of God. Our lives should be a constant pursuit to fill our need for more of God.
We should be venturing further…
…and further into a complex floor plan laid out in such a way that we are bearing spiritual fruit and using our spiritual gifts. Childishness prohibits this. If we do not progress beyond the first steps of following Christ, we become no more than overgrown, immature entryway dwellers only a few steps away from the door leading to the world’s way of filling our need for more.
Stay tuned, part 3 of “A Little Understanding – The Floor Plan” will be posted next month
From time to time my blog will include abridged excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer until a publisher can be found. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.
For more posts from my book Blueprint find the heading “Categories” on the right side of this page and click on “Blueprint (my book)”