Faithfulness | Seeing God Through Child-like Eyes
Few things are as pure and lovely as a child's prayer. Here's how a four-year-old prayed over her dinner once: "Dear God, thank You for this food. Because we really love food, and we like to eat it. And thank You for a lot of friends. And thank You for letting us play." Beautiful.
Sometimes you can really catch a glimpse of the Holy Spirit in what little kids say about God. There's a glimmer that tells you a child is not just mimicking something she heard or was taught over and over again. Of course, Bible training even at a very young age is a must in every Christian household (e.g., Proverbs 22:6), and mimicking indicates at least some training is going on. But the spontaneity of her prayer shows that that young child just simply knows good things like food and friends and play — things kids her age are supposed to delight in — come from God. And she can, with all confidence, openly express to Him her genuine appreciation.
Does Jesus Wear a Cape?
A young child's perception of God as he or she tries to grasp who He is and what He's like is a blessing to observe. To kids, Jesus Christ is Super Hero. They ask things like, Does Jesus wear a cape? Is He afraid of the dark? Can bugs bite Jesus? Another four-year-old even asked once, "If Jesus is in my heart, then how can He be in heaven?" Grownups should be sure to exercise our spiritual brains half as much as this young child must have done to even arrive at such a question. How many of us would know how to answer it?
The point is this: Couldn't we Christians learn a lot about our own faithfulness by observing a child's perspective about God? That perspective is straightforward, innocent, trusting, and honest. It is eager to think, to learn, to take root, and to grow. It is unencumbered by the effects of experience, time, and the presumed wisdom of man that all come with age and make us insecure, puffed up, or too often insubordinate to the perfect will of God.
“As Dear Children”
This is certainly not to condone spiritual immaturity! Immaturity in the things of God is evidenced by vulnerability, gullibility, carnal thinking and living, pride, preferential love, and self-centeredness, and it results at best in stagnant growth!
But at the same time, the very example Jesus uses to teach us about our relationship with our Heavenly Father, is children. For of such, He says, is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14).
Throughout the Bible, God's people are often referred to as His children. In His divine plan, God purposely created all little kids to be the way they are — straightforward, guiltless, honest, and trusting — perhaps as a practical model for Christians of all ages to copy. Be therefore followers of God, as dear children (Ephesians 5:1).
Indeed, it is child-like humility before the Father that He acknowledges the most: Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:4).
A Faithful Life is a Life by the Spirit
The fruit that results is discovered in a faithful life: a life characterized by authenticity and unashamed devotion, a life that keeps in step with the Spirit of God, a life that has crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, a life that’s no longer shackled to the pull of a sinful world but that is truly free because it belongs to Christ Jesus.
Isn’t that the context of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that we find in Galatians Chapter 5, especially starting at verse 16? So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The contrast is thereby made between a faithful life and a carnal life.
What Color is Your Life?
Speaking of children, this brings to mind how some grade schools use color-coded disciplinary systems to reinforce proper behavior. Here's how it works in one Kindergarten classroom: Every child begins each day at green. Then, depending on your behavior throughout the day, you can move up to blue and ultimately purple, stay at green, or drop down to yellow and ultimately red. Green is okay, blue is great, purple is fantastic, yellow is a caution, and red means you're in trouble. You can work your way up or down and back through the colors as the day progresses. Purple by the end of class is rare and earns the best rewards, while red earns a visit to the principal's office and a note home.
On this color scale, how would you rate your own life – and therefore, your faithfulness – as a child-like follower of Christ from day to day? Are you striving for God to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" at the end of the day?
Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant
Purple is the color of royalty. It is bestowed upon only the most obedient, to the few who consistently display reverent attitude, behavior, and service to others that are conducive to learning. You respect authority, you strive beyond what's expected of you, and you set an example for and positively affect the lives of others. Of course, you can't be perfect. Nobody's perfect except for Jesus. But His life and sacrifice are what you endeavor to imitate. (1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:21)
Blue is for Christians who go the extra mile, who strive to do more than just the bare minimum requirements. You are open to the calling of God in your life and desire to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him and to share His love and wisdom with others. You may not be as consistent and successful at it as with your sisters in purple, but you generally produce good fruit to the glory of Christ. Like purple, blue earns blessings such as growth, more responsibility, leadership, strength, peace and joy in life, and treasures in heaven. (Psalm 19:11; Proverbs 24:20; Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:35; 23:41; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Timothy 5:18; 11:26; Revelation 22:12)
Just Enough is Not Enough
You're green if you are pretty much focused, not straying too much off course, not causing any major problems for yourself or others. Fine. But you don't bear much fruit beyond that. Sure, you don't make any bad waves. But you don't make enough good ones either. You'll do just enough to keep the peace in your own life without actively seeking to be used by God to help others do the same. Green is fine, but you're supposed to make Jesus shine! (Colossians 1:10; Titus 2:14; Matthew 5:13-16; James 2:14-20)
Yellow means, Caution! You're losing focus and straying off-course. Your lack of faithfulness is causing you to be one step away from outright rebellion. You need to slow down and regroup. Get out of your flesh. Regain your spiritual focus and refresh your strength by getting more into God's Word, prayer, and fellowship with Godly saints. Don't let the cares, snares, and lures of this world get to you. Everybody slips up. Just don't get caught up!
Red means, Stop! and Turn around! You are in outright rebellion. You need to humble yourself, be reminded of the blood that Christ shed for your sins, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-3). You need to stop being angry with God, stop ignoring Him, and stop trying to do things your way. You need to remember who God is and how powerful He is, as well as how loving and merciful, and you need to get back into His Word and back into full and fulfilling communion with Him (Luke 15:11-32). Perhaps start with reading all the Scripture references here.
A Daily New Beginning
Thankfully, like children in a Kindergarten class, our Teacher gives us the opportunity for a new beginning every day. Faithfulness is an achievable fruit for every one of us because God gives us a new chance to walk by the Spirit every day. Maybe, just maybe, all you need to do is see Him through child-like eyes.
So, like a four-year-old child praying over a meal, picturing Jesus in a super hero's cape, or trying to figure out the exact attributes of "God manifested in the flesh" and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a true child of God is someone at any age who humbles herself and puts all her faith, trust, and delight in her Creator. With childlike boldness, she seeks out her Father's reassuring face and allows herself to be moved by, to grow up in, and to openly enjoy God's wonderful personal presence in her life. Every day.
Laurel Davis is a pastor's wife from New Beginnings Believers Bible Fellowship in the Culver City area of Los Angeles. She is also a published Christian writer and editor, and speaker/teacher on the Titus 2 Principles. Laurel and her husband have been married for more than 30 years and have four children (two of whom are in the U.S. Military), two grandchildren, and 3 grand puppies. You can find more from Laurel on her blog at The Reluctant First Lady.