Tuesday, June 8, 2010
To be like a child is not the same as being childish. Childlikeness is that which brings our spirits to a level of great vulnerability and innocence. I was talking to a friend the other day and I was excited to hear that he sensed a childlikeness in me. I've always thought that I had a more timid approach to things, but never did I really understand the depth of what that child-like nature really looked like or meant in my life. It is something that I think is a treasure to behold when I allow myself to let go of a stiffed narrow minded way of thinking and a cold approach to others just because I think I need to prove my maturity and self-respect or something, and embrace my vulnerability and innocence in a way that is profound.
Kid's sure have a way of being real and honest about everything, because they haven't learned how excruciating fear can have on a person's soul. It's downright destructive when we learn how to hide who we are because of what others might think of us, or even stretch the truth of what we really think about others just to make others feel better about themselves. This reminds me of a little boy I was a nanny for several years back. I just got a new pair of eye glasses, and I really liked them, and I asked Josh, who was about 7 at the time, what he thought about my new pair of glasses, and he was really honest with me and said they didn't look good on me, and that they were too big for my face... I was shocked, but the first thing that stood out to me wasn't the fact that he didn't like my glasses, but how honest he was with me. He spoke his mind with no reservations whats so ever. I will never forget that moment because it showed me how amazingly not scared kid's are for speaking their minds, if we just have the ears to hear what they have to say. This honesty and realness is a gift to be had for sure, but it seems like it disappears way to fast and once we allow that fear to creep in our lives, its easy to be deceiving in order to make us look better or seem more appealing to others.
I've been reading a book called The Jesus Style, by Gayle D. Erwin. There is a chapter in this book that is called, “A Child is...” While reading through this, there have been highlights in this chapter that I have posted here, because He really draws a beautiful picture of how parts of the Father's character is like a child. In Mark 10:13-16, it says, “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' The irony here is that after my friend and I were talking about child-likeness, I ran into this chapter, and in that, it just confirms what my friend was saying and how excited I find that to be. It makes me want to drop all kinds of things I am holding onto that strips my child-like spirit away...
Here are some quotes I took from this book...
“The unthreatening childlikeness of Jesus intimidated no one. Both friend and foe approached him freely. The Pharisees and Saduccees attacked him with fervor they could never have mustered had Jesus walked the earth with a heavenly glow and spoken in a royal, electronically enhanced voice Children were comfortable around him, which even a surface observation would tell you could not be so without his childlikeness. The Sanhedrin plotted to capture him and were held off, not by their fear of Jesus, but by their fear of the crowds.”
“A child isn't good at deceiving. Part of being like a child is to be humble, to be real. You can tell when children are happy or when they are sad. If they are afraid, they act accordingly. It is well known that any two children playing together will go through alternate stages of laughing, squealing, running, being angry and crying. When we affirm their freedom to do so, they can be terminally angry at a friend and five minutes later be playing again as if nothing had ever happened.”
“A child is innocent. When Jesus told us we must be as a little child in receiving the kingdom, he was using as an example one who had not yet come under the requirements of the law. Only after a certain age was a child considered accountable and under the command of the law. Until then, he was innocent To receive the grace and forgiveness of God as a child would is to understand that we are now in a state of innocence. How difficult it is for me to accept the forgiveness of God that way. I continue to lay different types of laws and requirements on myself and others. I find it so difficult to accept my state as being “just as if I had never sinned.” I keep trying to earn the acceptance and forgiveness of God. Until I accept this forgiveness and innocence, I will minister to others out of guilt and my own needs rather than being free to be totally oriented toward them, sensitive to them, serving them.”
In my opinion, I think Father desires to bring out a childlikeness in all of us. As we no longer live to exist by only what is seen on the outside, but seeking that which is within, and as we express ourselves genuinely to God, ourselves and others, we are allowing ourselves to be who we are in Him. I want to rip off that mask that hides me from those who may see my weakness's or flaws, because through grace I can thrive at being me and continually be transformed by the renewing of my mind and hold on to that which moves me closer to Him.