19 May 2011
Unless You Become Like Children
To set the stage, Kim and I desire to live out a life of faith around Georgia. That's meant praying for her (that she would know Christ at an early age and for her future husband), praying with her and allowing her to pray at meals, enrolling her in a Christian school (for a quality education with a Christian worldview), reading with her from her children's Bible and devotional (along with another short book of her choice) before bedtime prayers, and talking to her about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.
But all of these things never guarantee a child will accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Nor does it guarantee they'll fully understand their decision. Some parents may feel a child should wait until they're older...when they're more likely to comprehend matters of faith. Some may prefer the younger-the-better age. This is where discernment comes in. It's not up to a parent when or if a child accepts Christ. That's a decision between the child and God. Any child wants to please their parents and wants to feel included. One can only pray that when they're ready, they'll want to follow Christ.
On our return trip from Myrtle Beach to Maryland, we'd decided to tour the battleship North Carolina. Kim had suggested it knowing my love for history, World War II, and ships. Georgia was in the back seat reading her children's Bible. I thought it interesting since we'd brought dozens of books and usually we read from the Bible only before bedtime. But in this case, she had chosen it on her own as travel reading.
After parking near the battleship's visitor center, Georgia gets out of the car proclaiming, "I love Jesus! I love the Bible!" I barely had a chance to say how awesome that was before she added, "That makes us Christians, right, Daddy?!"
"Well, accepting Jesus as Savior makes one a Christian."
She pondered a moment. "But...I think I've already done that."
"When do you think you did that?"
Again, brief pondering. She wasn't exactly certain but seemed to think she had done this recently. The opportunity was clear and couldn't be ignored. We got back in Highlander and I asked her to sit next to me.
Kim and I have wanted Georgia to articulate what sin means in her own words. Not to repeat what she heard other people say or what she read. To define it in her own words.
Why is having an understanding of sin important? Simple. Turning to Christ, asking Him into your heart, or whatever lingo you choose can be done in the briefest of moments. But if one doesn't understand that sin is real...that it's all around us...that it's something we cannot escape but something we can avoid and turn away from with Christ's help...if one doesn't understand sin then there's little reason for a Savior. Since Christ died for our sins, how can one accept Him as Savior without understanding what sin is?
Her answer? "Sin is stuff not of God. Stuff we do that God doesn't like." She offered a few examples and it was clear that she comprehended it. So, I had her repeat a few lines of an impromptu prayer and at the amen Kim and I were crying tears of joy.
Children have such a pure view of things. Minus all the baggage and cynicism. I'm reminded when the Disciples wanted to shoo away children from visiting with Jesus. But He told them to let them come to Him and reminded the Disciples that unless they became as little children, they would never enter the kingdom of God.
Become as little children? What a concept for us adults! We're so focused on being safe and secure, that the joys of life can often escape our reality. Sure, children don't have our years of "experience and wisdom," but how easily, clearly, and boldly they step out on faith! How easily and often they want to make friends with other children!
As much as we're here to guide, instruct, discipline, protect, and love our children...there's much we can learn from them. If we can only take the time to listen to them. To shut our own mouths. We will be blessed.
I'm very blessed to have seen my child experience physical and spiritual births. Both were amazing moments. I look forward to our journey on this faith walk...together...as little children.
"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).
Posted by Rick Garner at Thursday, May 19, 2011