Childlike, No Childish

Run around in church circles long enough and you’re likely to hear or be a part of the discussion having to do with having a childlike faith. Often times it seems somewhere in the midst of the discussion the idea is brought out that there exists a fine line between childlike and childish; as far as faith is concerned. Of course we all desire to strive toward having a child-like faith, and yet seem to fall victim to having a childish (read immature) faith.

As I’ve recently had opportunity to delve into this issue more here lately, it struck me quite plainly that when we have a childlike faith we are content to rest in our Father’s arms. Have you ever watched a small child and how they operate the mechanism of their personal faith? They do so always with one eye on Dad (or Mom). By keeping an eye on Dad the child feels secure enough to keep venturing forth. Yes, there exists fear, doubt, stress, worry and the like. But Dad is still in view. And why do they keep an eye on Dad? He’s proven himself trustworthy in the past; so why should this time be any different? In fact the child only knows Dad to operate from this position. Thus their faith is bolstered.

God is no different. He’s proven himself faithful time after time. In fact it’s the position he works from. But unlike the child, we tend to shift our gaze off of him and on to other things we believe can provide us the same or better degree of comfort which then we believe will support our faith. The reality however is this diminishes our faith, for as we all know those other things – whatever they may be – fall short eventually. And it’s then we are left to wonder and doubt and struggle and possibly even come to a crises of faith. This quite frankly, can lead to producing a childish, immature faith in us. That if we continually function from this position does much to further weaken our faith.

So it would do us all well to learn from the little ones in our midst the value of what it really means to have a child-like faith. A faith such as this is a faith that is poised to take a risk, functions out of anticipation and excitement for what’s coming next. It’s a faith that isn’t held back by questions of “what if?” but instead is set free by questions of “what can be?” May each of us be a bit more childlike the next time our faith is put to the test.

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