Childlike, But NOT Childish

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In the gospels, the apostles were always wondering among themselves who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. They would argue amongst themselves because they wanted the places of honor In and 10 we see two examples we’ll take note of. (NKJV) 33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. Even after the Lord spoke of His coming death in , they had other things on their minds. After Jesus told them what was awaiting Him in Jerusalem, James and John asked Jesus to do for them whatever they ask. Jesus asked what their request was. They proceeded to ask Jesus that when Jesus ruled over His kingdom that one of them could sit on His left, and one on His right in His glory. They wanted to be great in the kingdom and wanted a position of authority. The other 10 disciples hearing this were angered at their request. I thought to myself, “Why would the other disciples get mad over that?” Any ideas? The only reason that I could see is that James and John beat them to the punch. That’s why they were angry. They wanted to be great in Jesus’ kingdom also. They all wanted the positions of power. -4The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who becomes like a child. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus disciples were doing here? I think they were acting like little children, but not in the way Jesus meant. What does Jesus mean when he says that one must be converted and become like children? I would like to study with you in this lesson some different traits that children have. There are some that we should imitate as Christians and some that we shouldn’t. Our Lord wants us to be child-like, but not childish. Let’s look at a couple definitions: a. Childlike - like a child, innocent, trusting, pure, humble b. Childish - pertaining to a child, silly, trifling, immature, self-indulgent, babyish, irresponsible Let’s look at first:CHILDISH TRAITS WHICH SHOULD NOT BE IMITATED BY CHRISTIANS. LACK OF UNDERSTANDINGThere are some in the religious world who claim that we just cannot understand the scriptures without supernatural help, or help from a certain religious body to interpret the scriptures for us. They point to all of the division we see in “Christianity.” They misquote to say that we cannot interpret the scriptures without help. Is this true? I believe that those who make this claim misunderstand the scriptures themselves because the scriptures tell us that we can understand. Jesus on many occasions when he taught told the people to “hear and understand.” Would he say this if it were not possible? Of course not. In the KJV, the word understand is used over 30 times in the gospels, 70 times in the whole New Testament, stressing the importance of understanding the message so we may be able to follow that which we understand. The letters written in the New Testament were meant to be read and understood by the hearers! how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),” Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (NKJV) and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Timothy understood the scriptures that he had, the Old Testament, FROM CHILDHOOD! Even the book of revelation was to be understood by those who received it . (NKJV) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. John says that they should understand what they are hearing enough that they would keep the words of the prophecy and even be blessed by what they heard. I’m not going to blessed by something you say to me if I don’t understand any of it. I would agree with anyone that says there are verses in the bible that are difficult to understand, especially the book of revelation to us since we are so far removed from it’s historical context. Peter said that there were things that Paul wrote in his letters that were hard to understand. But we must try our hardest to understand God’s will for our lives. We do not want to be guilty of twisting the word of God because of our misunderstanding of a verse as the men that Peter describes in that twisted the scriptures to their own destruction. That is why we must study the scriptures diligently so we may rightly divide the word of truth (). It should be one of our greatest desires to grow in our understanding of the will of God. UNCONTROLLED TONGUE.Illustration- (Little kids I heard talking growing up). Children just don’t know any better when it comes to controlling their tongue and how the things they say make them look. Most of the time they are just repeating what the people around them are saying. But we should know better. We need to be different from the world in the things we say. We should know from experience, and also from the word of God what kind of problems an uncontrolled tongue can cause. (James says that if we think we are religious but don’t control our tongue, the things we say can make our religion worthless) (NKJV) Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
Our speech should be sound, gracious, and seasoned with salt (; ). We always need to take into account those who hear us. Jesus says that we will have to give an account for every idle word we speak.
While children need a certain degree of attention, when they expect to be the focus of everything and fuss when you don’t give them all of it, they can be a brat.
Sometimes we too can become selfish. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” With selfishness and self-seeking comes pride. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate…Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. ; Pride is a danger we all face. If we allow ourselves to become proud, we can harden our hearts against the word of God and following His will for our lives.
These are just a few examples of the many childish traits we should not imitate. Now let’s look at some child-like traits that we should imitate to be pleasing to God.
CHILDLIKE TRAITS WHICH SHOULD BE IMITATED BY CHRISTIANS. (THE OPPOSITE OF PRIDE!) HUMILITY Jesus said in : (ASV) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. We have seen the danger that pride can cause. We can deceive ourselves when we raise ourselves up on a pedestal. Jesus says that he who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. We need to be like the tax collector; understanding our need for God’s mercy. He wouldn’t even lift his face towards heaven. He beat his breast and said to the Lord, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.” That is the heart that we need to have before our God. ; -16John 13:3-5,12-16 (NKJV) 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded... 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
When we examine a parallel account to this chapter in , we see that the 12 had disputed among themselves about which of them would have the greatest place of honor in Jesus' kingdom. Jesus' act showed that service is what is important, not authority or greatness in man's ways of looking at greatness.
The disciples needed a lesson on having the humility to serve one another, rather than competing with one another to see who can excel others in honor and power. The 12 refused to humble themselves to serve one another in this way. So, Jesus took the opportunity to serve them and thereby teach them the lesson of humble service to meet the needs of others. If the Lord performed this kind of humble service, surely the disciples should do the same.
Christ Himself is the perfect example of humility to us.
(NKJV) 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
How much did our Lord humble Himself? Paul says that being in the form of God (affirming his divine nature), that He made himself of no reputation (He made Himself nothing-ESV). Becoming a man was not humble enough for our Lord. He took the form of a bondservant. (literally- a slave) Jesus did nothing from selfishness or empty conceit.
Another Child-like attitude that ties closely with humility is: DEPENDENCYChild is not afraid when their father is near. They think that dad can do anything. As the child grows, they find out that dad really is not superman as they thought; that he is not able to do everything. But how about our God? When God is near, we are in safe hands. Our God can do anything. When we realize that our sufficiency is not in ourselves, but in God, we will do all in our power to make sure we are seeking to be near to our God because we know that when we draw near to Him He draws near to us.
(NASB) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The original Greek word for poor used in this verse VINES defines as meaning that we are constantly in need of assistance to survive. We as Christians cannot trust in ourselves for the things we need, especially our spiritual needs. We must see how destitute we are without the Lord. We must look to God. We can not be independent. We can do nothing outside of Him.
(NKJV) 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
We must abide in Christ, the vine that supplies us with life, with spiritual richness, with the privilege of bearing fruit to glorify God.
CRY WHEN SEPARATED FROM PARENT Have we ever seen a child that has been separated from their parents at the store or the mall? That child is crying and feels totally lost when his or her parents are not near them. That’s how we should be when we sin.
(NASB) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
We have acknowledged that we are spiritually destitute without the Lord. When we are doing things that do not please him and separate us from Him, we should “mourn.” We should mourn over our sins, the sins of the world, and the sins of our brethren. We need to take sin seriously. We need to mourn for our sins, not because we got caught. As Paul writes, worldly sorrow produces death (2 cor 7:10).Our sin should produce sorrow within us because we know what sin does to our relationship with the Father.
(NKJV) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
David gives us a great example to follow in the Psalms. When he prayed to God, his sin caused him to be broken before his God. David says, “ (NKJV) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise.” Our sins should break our hearts, not just give us a reason to pray.
-15Ephesians 4:14-15 (NKJV) we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ— We are given a high standard to mold ourselves to, but it is a standard that we all should be more than willing to work towards. It won’t be easy. We’ll all go through various trials and suffer many temptations, but it will all be worth the prize awaiting us if we endure till the end. :3Jesus said in , "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
We must put away the old man and put on the new. We need to have that simple trust and faith in our God and be willing to do what he tells us to do to inherit eternal life. I remember a phrase that I’m sure we all remember our parents saying to us
“As long as you’re under my roof, you’re under my rules!” How much more with our awesome God! We are children “in the house of God:” (NKJV) but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” We need to have the conduct that is fitting of a child of God. Let’s be child-like, not childish. I thank you for your attention.
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