Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 24 January 19:
Matthew 19:13-15 — “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
After correcting His disciples for attempting to keep little children away from Him, Jesus uses these children for an object lesson on faith. Both Luke and Mark record more of Jesus’ words – “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:17; Mark 10:15)
Jesus says that saving faith is like the faith of a child – with an open heart, ready to receive mercy and grace, trusting, eager, hopeful, joyful, excited, and comfortable in complete dependency.
Jesus says that we are to have a child-like faith, not a childish faith. Childish people don’t act their age, refuse to grow up, and dishonor the family name. Getting older is not the same as growing up. And as we all know, an adult can still act like a child. Throughout the Bible, Christians are called children of God (starting with Hosea 1:10), and the Bible has much to say to God’s little children –
– 1 John 2:1 — My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
– 1 John 2:12 — I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
– 1 John 2:28 — And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
– 1 John 3:7 — Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
– 1 John 3:18 — Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
– 1 John 4:4 — Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
– 1 John 5:21 — Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
The Bible encourages God’s little children to maintain child-like faith but to mature in their understanding and behavior –
– 1 Corinthians 3:2 — I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
– Hebrews 5:12 — For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
– Hebrews 5:14 — But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
– 1 Corinthians 14:20 — Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
– Ephesians 4:13 — …until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
– Hebrews 6:1 — Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
A final point should be made about the actions of Jesus’s disciples and His response to them: For unexplained reasons, the disciples stood as a barrier between the little children and Jesus, perhaps considering them somehow unworthy of Jesus’ time and attention. Jesus essentially told them to get out of the way. As we mature, we must be very careful with how we treat those we see as less mature – “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
– 2 Chronicles 6:30 — Then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind,
– 2 Corinthians 6:2, 3, 11-13 — Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry…. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
– Romans 14:13 — Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
– Luke 11:52 — Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
– Mark 9:42 — “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 Jan 19: Pray that God will increase your child-like faith and decrease your childish faith. Treat others as God’s little children.