“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to ME. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.'” Matthew 19:14 New Living translation
Are you childlike or childish? Only a few different letters but the meanings in the eyes of God are worlds apart. Let’s take a look and compare because Jesus’ words here are key for us to FLURISH!
Childishness refers to the negative side of being a child. When we are young, we behave differently than we do now, HOPEFULLY! As children we had not yet been taught the right way to behave. It was expected that we would be selfish, self-centered, irresponsible etc., At some point, if our parents did their job, we would be instructed to share, to be polite and kind, to be considerate and not to hit or hurt others. We would grow and learn more complex inter-relational etiquette as our ability to comprehend increased.
We all know that there are no perfect parents. Parents are defective just like us. . . kind of comforting when you think about it and great to remember when you become a parent, but I digress. A thousand pardons.
Needless to say there are always blind spots and flawed areas in each of our forming characters. Once we reach adulthood, however, it is our responsibility to learn and grow in the areas that are weak. Not every individual is motivated in this endeavor and as a result it is entirely possible to see childish behavior in someone say 50 or even 70 years of age. One of my favorite truths I share often: Maturity does not come with age. It comes with responsibility.
I Corinthians 13:11 says “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” New Living translation, this verse is contained in the love chapter of the Bible. Childish people are incapable of true love according to God’s definition. Only when they decide to “put away” their own childishness can they begin to learn to love sacrificially and unconditionally as God does.
Now let’s look at Childlikeness, the positive side of being a child. Children are inquisitive, curious to explore the world around them. Ideally they are also worry free, unless there is extreme dysfunction in the home. (which unfortunately is rapidly becoming the new normal). Curiosity and freedom from worry are two priceless commodities of children. But the most important, positive aspect of childlikeness is dependence. Children are TOTALLY dependent on their parents when they come into this world. They rely on their parents to care for them and supply all their needs. This is the attitude Christ was referring to in Matthew 18:3+4 and Matthew 19:14 above.
The key to FLURISHING in this instance is to allow yourself to become DEPENDENT on your Heavenly parent. Realize and accept that HE alone knows what is best for you. Learn to trust HIM on the level of a child with a faithful, loving Father. If you adopt this attitude you will be free to enjoy life and be completely fulfilled. It will take time, but oh so worth it!
First, as always, make up your mind that you want to trust HIM completely.
Second, study the attributes/characteristics of God the Father. In other words get to know what HE says about Himself in the Bible. Look up in your Bible’s concordance the word Father and the verses where Father is capitalized so you are sure the verse is speaking about God and not an earthly father. You can also do a Google search on God the Father in the Bible.
Third, ask God to renew your mind as you study Him and His ways.
(see Romans 12:2)
Fourth, practice trusting Him with little things. Pray about something and just believe HE will take care of it because He loves you. Wait in expectation and experience His loving provision.
Lastly, revel in your childlikeness and never be accused of being a stuffed shirt! Have fun, relax and FLURISH basking in your Father’s love for you!
SHINE ON !