My grandfather raced the grandkids in the streets when he was pushing 70 years old. We watched him eat the (cooked) brains of animals and pretend that doing so added to the knowledge box on the back of his head. He loved to play pranks and would place hot sauce in our mouths if we fell asleep in the living room. Mr. Cephas wasn’t a “get off my lawn” kind of person; instead, he encouraged us to roll around in the grass and laughed as it made us itchy. He had a genuine love for his grandchildren, and his interactions with us were classic.
Our natural desire to be near him spoke to my grandfather’s character. No child wants to be in the presence of an always serious, bitter, mean-spirited person. We saw what my grandfather represented. His love had a joy that could fill the room with laughter. His words came with lessons that we couldn’t ignore. His approach was what we needed, and his stature commanded respect.
Think about how children were naturally drawn to Jesus.
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
Jesus accepted them. He understood what children needed—he loved them, and they knew his love was enough. We may think that a childlike faith toward God implies having a simply innocent or naive relationship, but I believe our thoughts betray us. Consider this: My kids, like others, occasionally do the wrong thing, and at times, they aren’t humble. But there is never a time when those traits or poor decisions prevent children from receiving or accepting our hugs and gifts. Their hearts are always open to receiving love, and that quality is what makes them smart enough to know that our love isn’t something that has to be earned. Just as we do not and cannot earn our Father’s love—it has already been unconditionally given.
I think about my grandfather, who even after World War II, segregation, and the death of a child, never lost his childlike faith. He grew up without growing too serious.
Do you think your relationship with God lacks joy? Does believing that a Christian life lacks fun prevent you from starting a relationship with God? Do you feel as if you haven’t earned God’s love?
Make it a daily habit to share your love and joy for God with the people in your life. Don’t be afraid to let others know about the struggles you’ve overcome, and pray about the things you still struggle with. Join a small group to further grow your faith and build relationships throughout the week.
God, thank you for loving me with no strings attached. May I always come to you with the trusting faith of a child. Remind me of your promises when my grown-up pride tries to prevent me from receiving the love you already have for me. I pray that I continue to be open to my children and light-hearted enough to keep them moving toward your love. Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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