Are You Child-like or Child-ish?

I am very child-like. 
I like walking on the top of stone walls, eating ice cream instead of dinner, and taking naps with my favorite stuffed animal.  I like making faces in dressing room mirrors, sleeping over with friends, and reading books in bed.  I like summer better than winter, libraries better than doctor’s offices, and potato chips better than celery
I celebrate the fact that Jesus loved children. 
He was never too important or too busy to interact with the children who flocked around Him.  Like puppies, children know who loves them, and they knew Jesus loved them.  “Let the little children come to Me,” was His command, “and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mk 10:14)
Children were Jesus’ best example of what Kingdom faith looks like.  One of the most precious gifts a child bestows upon someone is her trust.  She never asks for a resume with five references, bank statements from three years back, or a 30-day trial period.  She just trusts. 
When the object of a child’s trust is her father, she models the trust God calls us to have in Him.  Saving faith is simple, unconditional, and active.  We don’t have to reconcile free will and election, solve the problem of evil in the world, or recite the Westminster Catechism. We just need to trust to the point of action.  We need to trust God enough because of Who He is to jump off the ledge of self-effort into the arms of Grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8, 9)  This is child-like faith.

On the other hand, sometimes I am very childish.  I sulk when I don’t get my way, hate taking my vitamins, and would rather play with the dog than do my chores.  Sometimes I don’t make my bed, pick up my socks, or floss my teeth.  Sometimes I don’t like to share. 

While God encourages us to come to Him in child-like faith, He does not encourage us to be childish.  Though he instructs newborn believers to “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” He doesn’t want us to stay spiritual infants. 
God, through the apostle Paul, scolds the “fat babies.”  “And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1-3)
I hope you can examine your life and find that your child-like faith has allowed you to trust Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  If you have, or if you are making that decision today, picture the scene from Mark 10 with you as the child at Jesus’ knee. . .  “And He took (insert your name here) in His arms, put His hands on her, and blessed her.”

If you have a trust relationship with God, this type of saving faith is active faith. It is growing faith.  It is maturing faith.  While it begins child-like, it is not childish.  If you can look at your life and see little evidence of the family resemblance that marks all of God’s children (Gal. 5:22), then it’s time to grow up!
Lord, you tell us in Philippians 1:6 that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”  I know you promise to be at work in my life, but you won’t do it against my will.  Help me to seek you first each day, choosing to spend time in Your Word so that I can grow up to look just like You one day.  Thank you for being my heavenly Father.”

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