Kingdom Principle: Grace grows us from a “child-ish” attitude to “child-like” faith.
If you haven’t cried in awhile, you may be losing touch with your emotions. Your emotions which are a part of your soul are God given. (To read the foundation of emotions and discovering when anger is a righteous emotion – read this previous post.) When we lose touch with our emotions, it is usually because we have either learn to “control” emotion in order to prevent it or our emotions are “out-of-control” and seem to control us and our relationships. Both of these places are dangerous and child-ish. Grace as we learned last week is to grow us – and that growth will move us from a child-ish attitude to a child-like faith. When we have child-like faith – we need to cry out to the Lord – so cry! baby, cry with all your being.
I have heard at various times that people think that Jesus never cried as a child. (Supposing that would infer that Jesus was a perfect child…) Why then do you think that Jesus would then begin to cry as an adult. (over Jerusalem – Luke 19:41-42, the death of Lazarus – John 11:35, in Gethsemane – Luke:39-44 and on the cross – Matt. 27:24 to name a few… ) For infant children, to cry is to communicate. In is the nature of being a child, in fact when a child does not cry at birth, the doctor knows something is wrong. As the child grows crying becomes the indicator that something is needed or necessary – this is to be child-like. But then there is a switch from the cry of child saying something like, they are hungry or uncomfortable, to the cry of a child that is simply child-ish wanting their way and wanting it NOW!
As we looked at last week again – it is easy to point out the short comings of others, not always so in our life. This of spoiled children – it is always easier for another to see it, rather than the parents which created it. (And even that statement is a judgment pointing out the fault lying with the parents) However – God wants to father us and grow us – this act of parenting through the means of grace is the very act of developing our cry. We are to cry out for mercy and grace. But that cry is not to be that of a child-ish tantrum, rather from a child-like faith that believes that without God no other comfort is possible or real.
This week we see the psalm as a cry of faith, we see Joab in a child-ish tantrum with David, that will eventually lead to their parting of ways, and we see Paul leading us to have the actions of faith being the children of God. These very actions demonstrate what it looks like to grow in faith, rather than being like the Jews who are rejecting the teachings of Jesus, and are stuck wanting things their way grumbling and complaining. The gospel of John does not have an infancy narrative (showing the child-like nature of Jesus was always there.) That can still mean that Jesus grew from being what we might call being child-ish, having the action of a child at the age appropriate stage.
But we are called to grow – So – let us be the body of Christ and grow up into the full measure of the faith as Christ has apportioned it to each of us.
Questions to reflect on this week:
1. Are there people or circumstances in your life that tend to lead you to react in a more child-ish way rather than child-like? You may have certain place of life where it is harder to express your feelings and emotions in a child-like way verses child-ish way. These are footholds of the enemy. Identifying these places is to take the first step toward growth. (Let grace be sufficient here, but not cheap)
2. What indicators do you look for in a child to decide if a child is acting child-ish verses child-like? What indicators would you suggest are there for the church to look at one another in this way? Most often the church gets frustrated with child-ish actions and simply shuns or pushes out such people, or caves into the pressure and they get their way, resulting in a lack of growth for the body.
3. Where do you most freely express your emotions? Where do you shield or control your emotions? Submitting your soul (root of emotions) unto the spirit is only possible once we discover the power of our emotions and the usefulness of our emotions then directing such emotion to the purpose of the Kingdom of God. Notice in the Ephesians passage – anger is not a sin, rather it is holding of anger and how your express it that leads to the sin.