Jesus calls his followers to have childlike faith. In Matthew 18.3-4 Jesus says: "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Notice Jesus is telling believers to be childlike, not childish.
Pastor Troy Murphy unpacked what it means to have a childlike faith in his message on Sunday, Feb. 21. Here are key highlights:
*Jesus made a reference to children after his disciples asked him, "Who is the greatest disciple?" Jesus was trying to get across the message that our faith isn't about measuring our spirituality compared to others. It's about establishing a relationship with Jesus, which involves having a childlike faith.
*Jesus tells his disciples they must shift their way of thinking from what they think is spiritual maturity to having a childlike mind-set, which can be broken down into several areas:
Children are not threatening. We do not fear them doing evil to us. Children are vulnerable. Babies enter the world and are harmless. They do not possess an agenda or pride or spitefulness that is often seen as they get older and grow into adulthood.
Belief in God means nothing until you have trust in that belief. Troy gave the example of his daughter jumping off their roof into his waiting arms -- she had faith that her dad would catch her. Do you have "jump off the roof" faith in God, in which you trust that He will catch you? If not, when did you stop having faith like that? That can be scary faith, but it's putting total trust in God. (Can you give an example of a time when you took a leap of faith?)
In Matthew 14 we read the story of Peter walking on water, until he takes his eyes off Jesus and then starts to sink. Did Peter doubt himself? The water? It's when he lost his focus on Jesus that he sank. Childlike faith has a single gaze on Jesus alone. Your ultimate trust should be in Christ.
This is a love that goes beyond saying words or being nice to people or tolerating people. Loving God isn't just knowing bible verses or attending church. Jesus calls you to love all the "broken-winged dragon flies" in the world, a reference to Troy's daughter who loved and cared for bugs -- even ugly ones -- when she was younger. Do you have a childlike love for people in spite of their flaws and foibles?
Jesus needs to be the one you are leaning on. He should be your "go-to" person. You should never lose your sense of dependence on Him. A Christ follower can't do life without Jesus -- they might try but are destined to come up short. A dependent person is realistic about what they lack. As you are dependent on Christ, you must also be dependent on the body of Christ, which is the church, which is not a physical building but people. That means you must be willing to work through hurt and disappointment with others and learn how to grow.
Trust is formed over time, even through hurt and disappointment. Proverbs 3.5-6 says to trust in the Lord and acknowledge him rather than leaning on your own understanding.
Jesus changes the whole idea of who is the greatest. Humility is the most exulting. Humility surfaces out of childlike faith, love and trust. It moves into our hearts and we find ourselves taking a lower position. It's a spirit of making someone else first and going last. Think of yourself as lowest, not in comparison with others but in loving people that way. Childlike humility lacks a personal agenda.