Sunday, December 23, 2012

As A Little Child

"Verily I say unto you,
Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child,
he shall not enter therein."
Mark 10:15
(KJV)


Children are so innocent.
Their hearts are so unmarred....
by hatred...
prejudice...
and malice.

They see things so clearly.

Zachary has the wonderful ability of helping me 
see things the way they really are.
His simplified view of life is so refreshing.
He points out the things I miss.
His hopeful outlook makes everything....
even the slightest joys to which (I am ashamed to admit) 
I have become so jaded...
and the wonders of life that I long ago began to overlook...
completely worthwhile...again.

I dread the day he loses the clarity of vision 
that is available only to those who have yet to be changed...
by the harsh realities of our cruel world.

His heart is full of love.
He forgives quickly.
He possesses a healthy balance...
of wariness and trust.

Christmas is magical to him.
A time of wonder.
Complete joy.
Untold excitement.

He has been counting down the days for weeks.
"Guess how many more days, Mama?"
He asks me just about every night.
He can hardly wait.

As I watch him enjoy this cherished season,
I stop and ask myself,
"Why can't we all see Christmas through their eyes?
Why can't we view life...each other through their lens?"
Why can't we love, instead of hate,
give, instead of expect to receive,
learn, instead of think we already know it all,
accept God's gifts, without question?

Why can't we keep hope alive in our hearts....
look forward to the small joys....
treat each other peacefully...
with love and respect and sincerity?
Not only on Christmas,
but every day of the year.

There are blessings all around us.
As grown-ups, heavy-laden with responsibilities and care,
we so often overlook them.
Too often our focus is on what we have to do,
instead of for whom we are doing it.
We spin our wheels and dig deeper ruts,
only to miss the golden moments that are happening
right in front of us.

Children aren't that way.
They catch the things we so often allow to slip right by...
without our noticing.
They notice the most minute details.

They see a tiny ladybug on a large leaf
and ask us to slow down,
so they can take the time to pick it up.

They spot a pebble in a stream...just out of reach,
and they plead for just one more minute
 to retrieve and add it to their bag of rocks....
because there is something special about this one.

They look into the eyes of a lonely person walking past in Walmart,
and ask, "Mama, is it okay if I say hi to him?".

They watch the anguished expression on a stranger's face melt away
as they smile and say, "I'll be praying for you."

They don't worry about being politically correct.
They aren't afraid to say, "God bless you"....
or "Jesus loves you"
or....GASP!...."Merry Christmas!"...

To them, Christmas is Christmas.
It isn't complicated.
It isn't so hard to figure out.
We call President's Day,
well, President's Day.
We call Christmas...Christmas.

They aren't afraid of offending anyone by being kind.
Their intentions are always pure...
there are no hidden agendas...
or ulterior motives.

They possess no deceit.
They don't care if their friends are black, white, or somewhere in between.
They don't pre-judge because someone sounds different than they do.
They seem to possess an innate ability...
to see right through to the spirit...
of others...
without taking thought of what is on the outside.
They automatically get what it means to
"try the spirit",
without worrying about what they visibly see.
They really get what it means to be like Jesus.
They remind me of Him...
so pure...without a trace of guile.

One day, Jesus was spending time with His disciples.
They came to Him and asked Him a question.
"Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Matthew 18:1

We read it, and we turn up our noses.
So pious are we.
How could they ask such a question?
Why were they so bent on competing....
with each other?
Why did they long to be exalted...
in the sight of others?
Why could't they see the light...
and the fact that we are all equally precious in His sight?

We read their question to our Lord,
and we feel a sense of disdain and are bothered.

Why, we would never ask such a thing of Him?
Would we?

Aren't we the same...
as the disciples?

Let's be honest.

Don't we strive with one another?
Don't we judge one another and feel spiritually superior...
to our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Aren't we prejudice...
against those who are branded...
with a "label" that is different than ours?
Don't we feel that our "label" trumps all others...
that "we" are greater in the Kingdom of Heaven...
than those who are "different" from us?
Do we really show Jesus' love...
to all of His disciples?
Or do we look at the outward appearance,
make spiritually prejudiced, self-righteous judgments,
then turn away in disgust...
feeling sanctimonious because we are so much "holier-than-them"?

Do we really think this pleases Jesus Christ?
Really???
Is it really Christ-childlike??
To act the way we do?

Just admit it.
We do.

Is our "Pharisee" air really going to make an unbeliever
want to become a believer?
Do we honestly think it will convince anyone,
sway anyone,
persuade anyone...
to become a Christian???

Why can't we look at each other as children do?
Why can't we look at each through a child's lens?
Aren't we all children....
of the Most High God?

Why the hate...
and prejudice...
and standoffish air?

Why do we have to ask questions...like....
what "group" are you with...or...
what is your denomination?

Who are "we" anyway???
Do we honestly think God is going to allow segregation in Heaven?
Will we be compartmentalized....
when we get there?
Will the dividing walls still stand?
Do we really believe that in the Father's house
the many mansions will be in sections....
based on our earthly "labels" and "distinctions"?
That when we get there, one of the books that are opened
will contain every man-made and dominated denomination, sect, creed, label, and group...
and we will be sent to our appropriate individualized, compartmentalized area
based on the name above the building in which we worshiped on earth?

Really?
Honestly?
Are we really this blind?

We turn up our spiritual noses...
when we read of the disciples' zeal...
to be greatest in God's Kingdom...
and all the while we possess the same inward ambition...
and we can't even see ourselves.

Jesus Christ's response??
To the absurdity of their loaded question?

I love Him so much!
I love His words!
They are power...and they are life.
Direct.
Straight to the point.
Just what we need.

Verse 2,
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them..."

A little child.
The perfect specimen.
To prove His point.
So unclouded their viewpoint...
so untainted their outlook...
so pure their heart.

Verse 3,
"And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Converted?
Who...us, Lord???

B...bu...but, Lord, we are Your followers...
Your disciples...
Your people.
Conversion?
Doesn't that word implicate change??
Doesn't Your answer indicate we need it?
Need transformation?
Us?
How could this be possible?

They didn't realize that the very question they presented...
to Holiness personified...
exposed their own condition...
their own lack of holiness...
their own hypocrisy....
their own admission to guilt.

Verse 4,
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child,
the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Aha!
Herein lies the perfect answer....
both to the disciples' question...
and to our problem.

We strive,
we bicker,
we disagree,
we walk around in a shroud of superiority...
and all the while we fail to see that
we will never enter...
we will never be a part...
of the Kingdom of Heaven,
let alone be the greatest in it,
as long as we fail to take the most important step....
unless we are humble...
unless we are converted...
unless we become as a little child.

This simple truth is completely lost to much of the modern church world.
Can you see the point Jesus was trying to make?

Our nature needs to be childlike.
As grown-ups, we lose it.
Life happens.
Vision becomes blurry...
dim....
blind.
We lose our innocence.
Hence, in our suspicion....
we render unearned and unmerited blame...
on everyone else.

Children don't do that.

In order to be like them...
there must be a conversion...
a transformation...
a change...
in the heart.
Back to the innocence...
the purity...
the love...
that is automatically present...
in the heart of a child.

After conversion,
our vision is corrected.
We realize God is the only Judge...
that it isn't our responsibility...
or our right...
to condemn another.
Things are simplified.

Verse 5,
"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth Me."

How do we receive children?
Do they feel put off by us?
Unimportant?
Less than?
How do we receive other children of God?
When we come into contact,
are we loving?
Friendly?
Arms wide open?
Accepting?

Cold rebuke...
harsh attitudes...
unkind words...
belittling looks....
degrading glares...
a "holier-than-thou" spirit...
will never be a part of the peace, love, and forgiveness...
of which the Kingdom of God is made up.

It matters to Him, my friend.

There should be no competition.
No strife.
Just love.

If you love Jesus, you are my brother...
my sister.
We may not come from the same background,
we may not look the same,
we may be a different color,
you may worship Him under a different roof,
you may wear a different label,
but the blood that runs through your spiritual veins is the same 
as the blood that runs through mine...
does it not?

After all,
aren't we going to spend eternity together...
in the same place?
Will we hold each other at arm's length there?
Will we even have half a chance...
to get there?
With such attitudes...
mindsets...
prejudices??

The Answer to every question of life is still speaking....

Verse 6,
"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me,
it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

Whew!
Need I say more?
"whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me"?
A child.
A child of God.
It matters...
how they are treated.

God does not take kindly to the mistreatment of His children...
whatever their age, shape, size, nationality...
dare I say it....
denomination.
Who are you, anyway?
Who am I?
To take the judgment seat?
To take God's place...
as judge?

God takes the offenses inflicted upon His children very seriously.
Jesus said it would be better for the offender 
to die a horrible, drowning death...
than for him to go on living in such a state.

Could any words have been more powerful?
Could any response have been more profound?

We get the picture.
Don't we?

We better.

If we want to be great...
if we want to a part...
if we want to be in...
the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is the way it has to be.
There are no variations.
No loopholes.
No alternates.

Just childlike love.

That is what He seeks...
in each of our hearts...
this Christmas...
and every other day of the year.

Maybe we should make some New Years adjustments...
to our thought process...
to our outlook.

Maybe we should ask God to convert us.
Maybe we should stop asking, "Who, ME????",
and start saying,
"Yes, Lord.
Guilty as charged.
I cannot change myself...
anymore than the leopard can change his spots.
I am powerless.
I see my need, Lord.
I am wrong.
I am guilty.
I lay down my useless, filthy rags of self-righteousness.
I take off my Pharisee cloak...
I hand it over...to You...
never to put back on.
I don't want it, Lord.
It is ugly.
I abhor it.
I bow at Your feet.
I humble myself...
as a little child...
just like You said.
And I confess my sin...
my hypocrisy...
my belief that I am holier than others...
that I am superior to Your other children.
I relinquish my desire...
my ambition...
my foolish goal...
to be the greatest in Your Kingdom.
I want to be Your child.
Please forgive me, Father,
for I have sinned.
I acknowledge my wrongdoing.
I admit my guilt.
Please convert me...
to the person You want me to be.
I refuse to deny my spiritual need any longer.
I come to You, as a little child...
dependent...
helpless to help myself...
powerless to change...
broken and sorry.
I want to change.
I am willing.
In Jesus' name,
Amen."


2 comments:

  1. I can't believe there were no comments on this! Sorry if I'm "stalking" your blog...I've just never read any of these older posts and I really like this one. Very true! :) So many times I've wanted to have that childlike faith and ability to see life. I have really been thinking a lot about that lately--how jaded and down we all become because of life sometimes. Great post.

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    1. Oh, bless your heart!!! You can stalk away...to your heart's content!! I am so thankful someone is actually reading them!!!! You are more than welcome to read any and all, and I just hope they are an encouragement and blessing to you. So thankful for your encouragement.

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