Saturday, February 27, 2010

Like a Little Child

    People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. 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." ~Mark 10:13-15
What does it mean for anyone to "receive the kingdom of God like a little child"? I've been taught and have believed that it meant accepting God the way a little child blindly trusts and accepts his parents (or even others). I still do, but could there be more? Is there more of the character of a little child that we must embrace in order to receive the kingdom of God? Or can our likeness to a little child be refined in order that we may more fully receive the kingdom of God? I was reminded by the passage below that I, as a child, was ever hopeful and ever curious. I was always eager to explore, learn, and experience more.

Now, as an adult, of course, I am so burdened with the mundane life. I just want to get through the boring routine of the day. The fewer new experiences the better! Too often, I look back to the "good old days" and long for the freedom from anxiety and responsibility. Truly, I also miss the blissful ignorance. Is this not a result of weak faith?
    So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. ~Matthew 6:31-32
I came across the following in a book with multiple authors called Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. Chapter 4 is by David Powlison. While making the point that "repentance is a lifestyle", he quotes Martin Luther and writes:
    The trumpet call, Thesis Number One of Luther's Ninety-five Theses, was this: "When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent,' He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." That first of Luther's theses dismantled all the machinery of religiosity and called us back to human reality. Luther glimpsed and aimed to recover the essential inner dynamic of the Christian life. It is an ongoing change process. It involves a continual turning motion, turning toward God, and turning away from the riot of other voices, other desires, other loves. We tend to use the word repentance in its more narrow sense, for decisive moments of realization, conviction, confession, turning. But Luther uses the word in its wider, more inclusive sense. If we are living in Christ, we are living from-to.
    Luther went on to describe the transformation that occurs as we live from-to:

      This life, therefore,
      is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
      not health but healing,
      not being but becoming,
      not rest but exercise.
      We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it.
      The process is not yet finished, but it is going on.
      This is not the end but it is the road.
      All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.

    Lifelong progressive sanctification was the trumpet call back to biblical faith. It was a call back to this life ... in which the living God is on the scene throughout your life.
Since God is with us and we trust him, we can move forward in life with eyes wide open not only unafraid of what we will see, but also eagerly expecting to rejoice in the glory of God as he has determined it will be revealed in his plan for us. And why not? God's abilities are so much greater than ours. His knowledge is better, his wisdom is better, his power is better, his love is better, his promise is better.
    Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;

    in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
    ~Proverbs 3:5-6

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