Childlike Faith is the wonder and awe at what Christ has and did for us. It is a synergy of trust, hope, and unpretentiousness that knows the Lord loves us and will lead us. Because of our trust in the Lord, we are more able to take comfort in Him. Childlike faith sees the world as exciting and adventurous, and worth pursuing with our faith so opportunities to please God override our complacency and the attitude of "been there, done that," even though we may have. It is a part of us that we should never lose. It enables us to maintain our humbleness and enthusiasm and not become just a subculture or routine! We are not to act like children towards others, but our faith and example must be authentic (Psalm 23; 131; Matt. 18:2-4; 34; John 10:1-18; 1 Cor. 1:22-30; James 2:14-19; Heb. 11:1).
Lack of Confidence, Apprehension, Complacency, and Timidity are the opposites. These bad characters will seize us with fear and cause us to blame others for our lack of trust as we become self-focused and distrusting. It is being childlike without the trust in Christ. We will fail to see the wonders in the opportunities, relationships, and gifts God has for us, as animosity becomes our defense from our fortress of timidity and excuses. Or, we will just become satisfied with what we have already done and never step up and strive for more ways to please God.
In Matthew 18, Jesus points out that faith is a responsibility. Childlike faith is not so much a character as it is the essence of what we do and what we bring to everything we strive for in the Christian life. Further, it means trusting, being humble, and not forcing your will upon others as the disciples were doing. This is not about innocence, but rather dependence. Children are dependent on us for their quality of life and the substance we provide. For us, this means we are to be dependent on Him and allow His empowerment to fill us. Do we become good examples and point to the Way, or do we cause others to stumble because of our misdirected ways? Because children are dependent, they must have faith that they will be taken care of. This is a perfect illustration of how we are to have trust and faith in our Lord.
Jesus sees the value of faith as paramount over anything else; faith is lifted up as the most important thing we have or do. Yet, all too often, we do not seek faith, but rather just what we can get. Jesus asks us to be the good child. A good child accepts his or her responsibility to the family to learn and grow. A child of God expresses humbleness and trust so he or she will be able to grow in faith and maturity (Psalm 130 and 131). Being childlike in faith and wonder is how we are to grow in our relationship to Christ. Being child-like, as in quarreling and running away, is not. A child is also to enjoy his or her childhood, as we are to enjoy our relationship to Christ. A spoiled child will not learn and grow in maturity as he or she should, and can even become a hindrance to others, just as Christians who refuse to grow in their faith can be. They bring a bad reputation to their church and to our Lord. We are not to aspire to human greatness, but, rather, godliness.
We are to evaluate who and where we are by His standards, not the world's. Give God the room to work in you and others. Refusing to see His call, not loving others, and being full of pride are terrible things-not just for you, but also for those around you. This can and will distort our thinking and direct our actions toward the wrong objective. Childlike faith encourages humility and helps us realize who we are in Christ. Without humility, we cannot come to the Lord, because we will never admit our need, surrender our will, or be able to grow in faith. We will not be able to serve others because we will think they are unworthy, just as the people did toward that soldier's servant in Matthew 8:5-13.
Faith is the foundation upon which we build our character; it supports the house where the Spirit can dwell and empower us. This is a fruit of the Spirit given to us as we grow and mature. It comes from being "conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29) Faith and our trust in Christ will be the quintessential aspects of applying obedience and growth in our maturity and character.
Is the Character of Childlike Faith working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Childlike Faith from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Childlike Faith in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better attitude of Childlike Faith?
- What blocks Childlike Faith from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Faith function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 22:1-18; Mark. 9:20-25; Acts 14: 26-27; Gal. 1:13-17; Phil. 4:8-9; Heb. 11:17-19)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 18:10-15; Duet. 31:51-52; Psalm 10:4; Isa. 2:6; John 12:37-41)
1. How would you define Childlike Faith? Are you a person who is trusting and unpretentious? If so, what about in situations that would cause you to boast?
2. What part does Childlike Faith play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers and family? Have you lost out on opportunities because you have been timid with your faith, or lacked that wonder, causing you to become complacent?
3. How does a lack of confidence in Christ impact Childlike Faith? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on your fears?
4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you fail to seize the opportunities Christ has for you?
5. When have you been filled with Childlike Faith the most?
6. In what situation did you fail to be wondrous with your faith when you should have?
7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Childlike Faith?
8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Childlike Faith into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Childlike Faith not functioning properly in my attitudes and what can I do about it? Christ asks us to be the good child. What does that mean to you? What would it be like if most of the people in your church were operating under this parameter? What steps can you take to do a better job at enjoying your relationship to Christ?