Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
You know the song, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” I suppose I learned that one about the same time I learned Jesus Loves Me. As simple and basic as these songs may be, they reveal an important truth about the Lord’s relationship to children and faith.
As parents brought their children to Jesus for Him to lay hands on them, they were rebuked. Jesus’ disciples didn’t want to bother the Master with such trivial matters. Jesus, however, thought differently, and requested time with the children. (Mt. 19:13-15)
Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And He used the occasion to teach a valuable lesson on faith. “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17) That’s where we get the expression, child-like faith.
You don’t need a theological degree, nor do you have to read the Bible from cover to cover. You don’t have to study a book and then take a test to be saved.
I grew up in the Lutheran Church and at age eleven, I went through a catechism class which I failed miserably. Couldn’t memorize all that was needed to pass, and to be honest, I didn’t try all that hard to learn. But it broke my heart to flunk. I recall apologizing to the pastor and worrying I wouldn’t get to go to heaven. He responded with something I’ve never forgotten. “You can’t grade faith.”
God made His message of salvation easy enough for a child to understand. Child-like faith doesn’t have to know all the what-ifs. It’s as simple as this:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
As we grow older, we become cynical and closed-minded. Children, however, believe easily, accept freely, and trust wholeheartedly.
In Matthew 18, there’s another incident involving Jesus and children. He used a child as a teaching opportunity to make an important point about saving faith. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3)
You have probably said of someone “he needs to grow up.” You said it because his behavior is more like a child than an adult. When it comes to faith, we must become like children. Cast aside your adult snobbery and superior knowledge and take Jesus at His word. Accept Him in faith.
Child-like faith is willingness to trust and follow Christ. It begins as simple as a grain of mustard seed. You don’t step into the faith as a spiritually mature Christian, in love with God, and well-versed in His word. Your faith is just enough to take that first step in which the seed takes hold and begins to grow within you. And one day, you realize that little seed of faith has grown into mountain moving faith.
This spring, my wife ordered a pack of Petunia seeds from the Park Seed Company. When they arrived, my first reaction was that she had been ripped off. Those seeds were so tiny, we used a magnifying glass to look at them. Today, we have beautiful Petunias growing in our flower garden, which begs the question, how could something so lovely come from something so tiny?
Jesus loves the little children and adults with child-like faith. When we water that seed of faith with the word, nurture it with the leading of the Holy Spirit, and rid ourselves of the sin-weeds that inhibit growth, we become trees that bear beautiful fruit in God’s garden.
Don’t ever think your faith is too small. Start with what you have and watch it grow. God will give the increase.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Christ Vindicates and Protects His Children
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.