Childlike Faith

June 18, 2007, 4:22 pm; posted by
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Matthew 18:2-4 says that in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven, we must become humble like little children. I’ve been told occasionally that this kind of humbleness means following God with an unquestioning faith, like a toddler trusting his or her parents to make everything all right and handle the affairs that are beyond a less developed mind.

God wants us to trust him for all of our needs, and there are parts of God’s plan that don’t make sense to us from our position here on the ground; these things are beyond question, especially in light of other Scriptures. However, anyone who has experience with toddlers or young children can verify the fact that “unquestioning” is almost the worst possible choice to describe these (perhaps besides “clean” and, in some cases, “courteous”). The question “Why?” seems to be the one most often asked by toddlers in their desire to better understand the world around them.

My hope is that we truly would be like children in the faith, constantly seeking answers about God and His creation. One trend that seems to be present (though perhaps decelerating, thank the Lord) in the modern American church, especially when viewed from the outside, is a distrust for intellectual pursuits and a reliance on simplistic populism to spread the gospel message. Some preach that the Gospel message is simple, which it is, but also that it is simplistic, which it is not. Why bother considering your faith intellectually if all you need to guide your walk is “feeling” God?

As a result, to the academically inclined, spiritual belief is viewed as symptomatic of intellectual death, and sometimes intellectual debate or theological discussions, which are the church’s best ways of asking itself “why” and “how” questions, are viewed by churchgoers as almost pharisaical* and not focused enough on the Spirit or the relational aspect of salvation. The emotional experiences that we associate with God are important, but they do not detract from (nor are they even completely separable from) the intellectual and/or theological roots of our faith.

Sometimes, a “because I said so” from our Father is the most complete answer that our deficient minds can process and we must therefore be content, if not satisfied, with this answer. However, we should not presuppose this answer before we ask, and believers should always ask questions of God, themselves and others, so as to be prepared to engage the world on a strong intellectual footing.

*This post brought to you by the 365 New Words-A-Year Page-A-Day Calendar.


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