How childlike are you?
Silly question, I know. But I was raised to stay as young as I can because once I am old, I am old a heck of a lot longer than I am young. So here I am in my mid-twenties, watching anime, collecting pop figurines, playing video games, listening to boybands, even dancing in stores when I shop not caring who sees (embarrassing those I am shopping with too!). Shoot I am even going to dress up as a red riding hood for work tomorrow because it’s Halloween. Feel more comfortable sharing how childlike you are yet?
This does not mean that I am childish though. What I mean is, I am not immature in that I am lacking in emotional maturity. I am not impulsive or stubborn, nor do I defend myself with lies. I am a very serious person when the situation calls for it. Though I may be dressed up in a costume tomorrow, for example, my conduct will still be professional. I will never argue over petty issues in any situation. I’ll always take you seriously (when you are trying to be serious that is), and I will gladly own up to my mistakes.
See, there is a difference between being childlike and childish. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention to act childish. However, there are many accounts of acting childlike. One of my favorite examples is in Matthew 18.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." – Matthew 18:1-5
Now, does this mean we have to watch cartoons, own some stuffed animals, play video games, read YA books, or dress up every Halloween? Nope! Not at all! There is another way to be childlike; it is the way Jesus was meaning when he spoke in the verses above.
Children are both sincere and trusting. They are sincere, in many ways (not when they might get in trouble, that is an example of being childish). But have you ever experienced those random sweet moments? Like a child randomly hugging you, or them telling you that they love you? As a parent, you may have received plenty of drawings and crafts that your child has given you. One time, when one of my nephews was little, he went to one of those Scholastic book fair things at his school and got me a Winnie the Pooh book. Completely out of the blue. Children are often very sincere in their actions, resulting from having a sincere heart.
They are also very trusting. They trust us adults so completely. They believe what we tell them, and trust that we will be kind. They trust us to take them to school, to pick them up, to feed them, provide for them. They trust us to love them, to never be cruel to them. To forgive them. To comfort them when they get hurt falling. It is beautiful to see that trust in these children. And it breaks my heart that some people will take advantage of that trust and abuse them.
But our Father never will abuse us. Jesus wants us to be childlike in our relationship with God. He wants us to be sincere in our worship, our prayers, our walk. We need to be genuine in our walk with God, not holding any deceit or pretense in our hearts. We also need to trust. Trust God in the good times, the bad times, to care for us, provide for us, guide us, and love us. He will never disown or abuse that trust.
So, maybe you are like me who is childlike in our conduct, like dancing in stores or dressing up at Halloween. Maybe you aren’t. But what truly matters is if we are sincere and trusting. I know tomorrow is not a popular day amongst us Christians. But let’s showcase our childlike behaviors of sincerity and trust in our Father by loving others tomorrow. No, you do not have to participate in the festivities, but it also wouldn’t hurt to compliment that child’s costume. After all, they are only doing it to be their superhero for a day…. and to receive that delicious candy too!