One of the great serendipity's of grandparenthood is meandering conversations with grandkids. During these timeless talks I am quickly reminded that there is a vast difference between being "childlike" and "childish." Being childlike forges curiosity and discovery and imagination, while being childish is intrusive and offensive and narcissistic.
When we were children, we had both; and we could flip the switch between one and the other as needed. I was pretty sure I never behaved in any childish way until I viewed an old 8mm movie that my father took when I was in first grade. He was hiding on the hillside in back of our house. My cousin Cliff and I were playing with my tricycle and trucks. It's pretty hard to argue with film. I evidently decided I wanted the trike AND the trucks. To get them, I began punching and grabbing and hoarding. It was not a pretty sight. Childishness never is.
During those childhood years we gradually learn to jettison the childish behavior, while keeping that childlikeness that's a "must-have" for faith to flourish. This childlikeness is your pass into the Kingdom. Remember HIS words.
"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15 NIV).
We grow up. Somewhere between our first breath and our last, we become adults; we accept responsibility for decisions and actions. We learn to own our failures and faux pas. But, for the Kingdom, that childlike spirit remains.
Fox News reported, "Like most 16-year-olds, Brooke Greenberg enjoys shopping and listening to rock music. But unlike other girls her age who are learning to drive and going to the prom, Brooke still wears diapers, travels in a stroller and can't walk or talk.
Brooke is only 30 inches tall and weighs only 16 lbs.
"For the past 10, 11 years, she's looked the same," said Brooke's father, Howard Greenberg. "The price is, she's adorable. She stopped aging at the right age."
From the beginning the doctors have been stumped. Brooke has become a guinea pig for research. Somehow she developed a mutation in the gene that controls aging and development.
Dr. Richard Walker, a biomedical researcher and editor-in-chief of Clinical Interventions in Aging, discovered Brooke's mutated gene. He has been studying her case since 2006.
As far as we know, there is no one like Brooke anywhere else in the world. There is no hope for any discoveries that will give her any sense of what we call normal, but she will help researchers take steps to understand more about aging.
Brooke will live a lifetime as a child. What would that be like?
So, are you frozen in time? Is your faith more childish than childlike? More offensive than engaging?
Try this question:
When you think of faith, do you think of right answers, good arguments, logical proofs, or do you think of mysteries, new discoveries, seeing the invisible, doing the impossible, leaping before you look?
For more than a generation, American Christians have focused on the rational side of faith. The result: millions of people have voluntarily disconnected from churches that were more interested in reason and proof and doctrine than about wonder and calling and transformation.
Faith was never meant to be system to prove; it was meant to run and imagine and soar.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).
Yes, we must have faith based on some core truths (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Ephesians 4:4-6)! But our primary task is not to know the right answers or believe the right creed. The primary task is to work off the imagination, to see Jesus come alive in people, to see the good in them before they do, to give and lift and share and invade a world bigger than ourselves and infuse it with the opportunity for others to be caught up with Jesus in Kingdom-sized living. Paul described this mystery kingdom lifestyle this way:
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it's out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple (Colossians 1:26-27 MSG).
So, what do you see?