Christine Caine - Childlike Faith - Part 2
Hey everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined us today. I know that God has a word for you. You know, we've been talking about what it is to have childlike awe and childlike wonder when it comes to fulfilling the plan and purpose of God and living the abundant joy filled life that God has called us to live. Listen, I'm 56 years, I've been a follower of Jesus for over three decades, and I've got to tell you that I believe that in our relationship with God, yes, there are challenges, yes, there are trials, yes, there are different seasons, but all in all, we're going from faith to faith, from grace to grace and from glory to glory. And I believe the longer that we've walked with Jesus, the more sense of awe and wonder there needs to be at our salvation. You know, if you are getting older and the longer you walk with Jesus, you are becoming more grumpy, you are just becoming a lot, you know, less likable, then I'm wondering whether you're really being in the presence of God.
This is what the scripture tells us in the book of Mark chapter 10, verse 13. It says, "People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuke them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and he said to them, 'let the little children come to me. Don't stop them because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it'. After taking them in his arms, 'he laid his hands on them and he blessed them".
Now, I love this for so many reasons. Of course, we know that Jesus loved children. In a culture that did not necessarily esteem children, in a culture that often disposed of children, Jesus loved children. The beautiful thing is Jesus never abused children. Jesus never violated children. Jesus loved children. Jesus included children, Jesus accepted children. You know, the fact of the matter is, he says that if you and I want to receive the kingdom, ultimately we've got to do it like little children because it's never going to make sense. Faith doesn't ultimately make sense. We could have evidence that, you know, this is why you should believe Christianity. We can present arguments, we can have debate, we can have a whole lot of things and a lot of good reasons but ultimately, faith is a mystery.
Ultimately, faith is something that needs to be received and faith when we receive a place of faith in Jesus, ultimately it's not going to make sense. No matter how smart we are, how talented we are, how gifted we are, how articulate we are, how educated we are in order to live our life of faith and follow Jesus and receive the kingdom of God, then we got to have to do it like little children. There's got to be this sense of just trust in God and trust in the faithfulness of God. At some point you got to step over that line and just trust him even when it doesn't make reasonable sense and there ought to be a child likeness when it comes to our faith. I take it as a great compliment.
Oftentimes people say, man, you just seem to be a little bit up Christine, and you know, you just seem to have this same love for Jesus like you did when you first became a Christian over 30 years ago. I think that's a compliment, it's not like people that think, well, you know, you should have matured, and now that you are matured, you need to look like you've been sucking lemons and look like you know, you know those people that are just so serious about their relationship with God and it looks like, you know, if they're not angry or if they're not cynical or they're not critical, they're not happy. It's kind of like, you know, this is how you're a serious Christian. I'm like, you know what? Maybe you need a spiritual enema. You need to take a chill pill. You need to just lay back a bit and have that childlike awe and wonder like my girls when they come to my husband and they're just full of love and full of joy and they love life and they love experiences and they have an adventure.
I think Christians ought to be like little spunky people. They want to be a spring in our step. There needs to be a little glint in our eye. We need to kind live life a little bit on the edge where people are like, what are they smoking? What are they on? There's something about them. And what that is, is the joy of the Lord is our strength. Yes, we live in the same world as everyone. Yes, there are the same challenges, the same trials, the same heartache. There is no dismissing or denying or diminishing the reality of living life in a fallen world, but greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world so the joy of the Lord can still be our strength. The peace of God can still be our covering. We can still have this childlike faith in this world that is around us. You know, I find that if you getting older and walking with the Lord more, it's sort of this sense of like, well, now I'm more intellectual, so I've got less faith. You know, now I know more about theology and I have less faith.
The two don't need to be antithetical. We don't need to lose our childlike wonder. In fact, the more I know about God, the more I know that I don't know. And the more I know about science and math and creation, the more in awe of God I am thinking, whoa, that's my dad that made all of that. That is amazing. I thank God for advances in technology. I thank God for advances in science. I thank God for advances in medicine. I thank God for advances in education. I thank God for advances in every sphere of society, and I thank the God that made it all. I'm like, wow, wow, so my childlike faith actually only increases. The more knowledge I get, the more wisdom I get, the more understanding I get. Because the more knowledge I get, the more wisdom I get, the more understanding I get, the more I realize how much I don't know and how much ultimately none of us know. Not the most intelligent, articulate, innovative, technologically advanced person on the earth.
Only God is God. And to me that means I can appreciate all of the creative things, but my awe, my reverence is maintained for my Creator alone. And the more I know and the more I know I don't know, the more in awe I am of God. So you know, we talked last week and just now a little bit about what it is to have a childlike faith. And I need you to understand that we must maintain a childlike faith no matter how old we are. But in 1st Corinthians chapter 13 verse 11, this is what the apostle Paul writes. He says this, he says, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things".
So when I was a child, I thought like a child, I acted like a child, but when I grew up, I put aside childish things. So on the one hand, you and I are told in scripture that we are to remain childlike when it comes to our faith. But on the other hand, we are also told that we're supposed to put off childish things. Therefore, if we're to remain childlike, but to put off childish things, there has to be a difference between remaining childlike and being childish. You know, it's so important that we understand this difference because some of the things that I'm looking at in the world and in society and culturally around us on things like social media, just in interactions around the place, I'm seeing that some believers are acting so childish, yet losing their childlike faith.
So the sad thing is that when we are no longer childlike, when it comes to our faith, not only does it impact our own walk with God, but it actually compromises our witness to a lost and a broken and a watching world. So when we act in childish ways, the world around us is actually watching us and it truly impacts the way they see Jesus. I mean, do you think they're not watching how we interact with one another on social media? Do you think they're not watching how we're dealing with things like clergy abuse scandals, or just mismanagement or when it comes to leadership abuses and misers, do you not think the world around us looks at these? They're watching us, and it truly impacts the way that they see Jesus.
So you and I are called to grow up and to mature in our faith. And you know, in the past few years, I think what has been revealed is a definite lack of maturity when it comes to believers in the body. So it's time for us as believers to grow up in Christ so that we may reflect Jesus to a lost and a broken and a hurting and a hopeless and a helpless world. See, the world needs a church that can respond to this present moment of darkness, of confusion, chaos, and division and pain and heartache that need a church that can respond with wisdom, with grace, with love, with kindness. And I'm not talking about a church like a building out there, I'm talking about you and me. You and me, the church of Jesus Christ. It's not just them that should be acting with wisdom and grace and love and kindness, it's you and I.
In our daily interactions, what are we posting? What are we talking about? What kind of conversations are we having? What acts of good service are we doing? It's so easy to point the finger and say they should be, the church should be, they should be. I'm like, we are them. Therefore it's up to us to make a decision. You know what, I'm not going to react in the same way that the world is reacting. I'm going to respond according to the word of God. I'm going to respond according to the spirit of God that lives in me. There has to be a difference between the way we respond and the world reacts. If we are going to be an effective witness in our generation, to our generation, for the sake of our generation.
So Paul says in 1st Corinthians chapter 14 verse 20, "Brethren do not be children in understanding". However, this is so important. He says, "In malice, be babes, but in understanding, be mature". I think sometimes we reverse that in malice, we've got a PhD, but in understanding we're babes. And yet Paul inverts this and he says, you know what? You need to be babes in malice and you need to be mature in understanding. Maturity is actually the goal for the believer.
We're supposed to grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ. So growing up, maturing is actually the goal for the believer. You and I are supposed to be being conformed and transformed into the image of Christ. Now, I loved when I gave birth to my girls and they were babies. I mean, they were the cutest things and the things that they did as babies, and then the things they did as toddlers were so cute. Well mostly, you know, mostly of the time. But if they were still doing some of those things, now that they're 20 and 16, can I just tell you it wouldn't be cute anymore. It would be weird if my 20 year old was still doing things she was doing when she was two. What was cute then is not cute now. It would be weird and it would be dysfunctional.
I wonder what we are still doing now, what thoughts we're still having now, what actions and reactions we're still having now that we still had when we were first believers in Jesus? Let me just say, some of that is weird and some of that is dysfunctional if we're not prepared to grow up into the full stature of our head, the Lord Jesus Christ. So I expect my daughter, well, Catherine's now studying abroad in London. Well, I expect her in London to be mature, to be responsible, to be disciplined.
Now, I didn't send her there when she was two because she's got an entire different skill set at 20 than she did at two. So I expect her to be growing in wisdom now and to be growing in understanding and making her own choices and being responsible for the choices that she makes. Maturity growing up is a sign of health. And so often we stay immature even as believers because we just get saved and we think this is it, I've arrived. Salvation is just the starting point. You're just at the starting line. Maturity is the goal that we grow up, that we put off childish things and we remain childlike in our faith, but we put off childish things, often we stay childish and we put off being childlike and we get it reversed. You know, in 1st Corinthians chapter 13, verse 11, Paul said that we must choose to put off childish things.
So to me, this implies that childish behaviors don't just fall away. They're so innate, they're so inherent that we have to choose to put 'em off. We have to make the decision that I'm no longer going to continue in that pattern of behavior. I'm no longer going to continue doing that thing or thinking in that way. You know, it is possible to do that. As I've discovered with my girls, when Catherine went off to college, she had to do a whole lot of things for herself that nick and I had previously done for her for years. Now, I had to laugh at first because her washing did not magically appear clean in her dorm room anymore. Man, I got so many phone calls about that, I'm like, Catherine, what do you think? Do you think the angels came and collected it all of those years?
You would go off to school, you'd come back, there'd be clean laundry, and now suddenly there's not, because her mama's not there to put it in the washing machine and in the dryer, I had to laugh the number of times she had to call her dad in the early days to help her because her car ran out of gas. Because another thing that my daughter discovered when she went to college was that the car didn't automatically fill itself up with gas. I mean, that was a rhema revelation for her that you actually had to put gas in the car. The other big discovery she had was that there was such a thing called a budget that if you spent more than you earned, you were in deficit and you had to get yourself out of it. If she wanted to eat, she would have to learn to rearrange her finances.
And you know, I love the fact that I watched her mature. There were just different stages that she went through and it was okay to be totally dependent on me for certain things at certain stages, but you couldn't have the privileges of another stage if you were not willing to accept the responsibilities of that stage. And we have a generation that wants all the privilege without the responsibility, but unless you're willing to take on the responsibility as you mature and put off childish thing, then you cannot have the privileges of that. You cannot run a society like that, you cannot run a home like that, you can't run your personal life like that. And yet we're trying to raise a generation with all privilege and no responsibility, it's never going to work.
So we've got to have both together. Catherine had to purposefully and proactively put off certain behaviors that she did when she acted like a child if she was going to now continue to mature and live in the privilege that came with the responsibility of what it is to be a college student and to live abroad. So as followers of Jesus, I wonder what might be some of the childish things that you might need to put off, that I might need to put off if I'm going to be become a more mature follower of Jesus. If I'm going to continue to grow and increase in wisdom and in stature.
And you know there's a whole list of these things that we're going to talk about, but I think one of the first things that we have to put off, and if you've ever raised children or you're going to know this as children grow out of toddlerhood and have to begin to mature and get out of that season, I think one of the big things and big characteristic that defines children as children is that ultimately they're selfish. And we can hash that up anyway we know, especially when they're first born man, all they want to do is they want to be fed, they want to be cuddled, they want sleep. It's all about them as it should be, that makes sense then. But a child is the center of their own universe. Everything revolves around their wants, around their needs, around their desires.
You know, when my girls were children, they did not think about the needs of our entire family. Not at all, they never came in and said, "Mommy would now be a convenient time at 3:00 am for me to have my midnight feed"? They never asked me how I felt. "Mommy, do you feel okay to feed me right now? Mommy would now be a convenient time"? They never asked me. They never were thinking like, you know, when would be a good time for you, mum? They just cried and when they were hungry or when they wanted something, they needed me to be there. Now that's okay when you're an infant, when you're a newborn, when you're a toddler. And the fact is that back then I didn't mind if I didn't have enough sleep or if I was not feeling well. The fact was that the kids just demanded the satisfaction of their wants and I was willing to do that because they were just newborns, they were just toddlers. But there came a day when that had to change in our family if our family was going to go forward.
You know, we could not function and fulfill our purpose as a family if the kids just wanted to be the center of everything the whole time. There came a time we had to choose to say to them, you know what, you're going to have to put off selfishness. That is now what was okay then, has now become selfish behavior. That it's not all about you and thank God we taught them that, because, you know, we just went on vacation as a family just a few weeks ago and it's great, I'm watching them, I'm watching them talk even amongst themselves, Catherine and Sophia, and saying, okay, what would you want to do? What do you want to do? What does mom want to do? What does dad want to do? How is this all going to work in the family?
It means that we can function and work better when we put off selfishness, when we realize it's not all about me. In the same way you and I as Jesus followers, you know, we are part of the global family of God. We have to choose to put off selfishness and start thinking of the bigger picture. Paul writes in Philippians chapter to two verses three to four, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in loneliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others".
And I love this passage. It's so powerful because it actually says what we should do as Christians. There comes a time when our spiritual life, it's not about us. It's not just about me and my will and my dreams and my desires and living my best life now, but it's about God's kingdom. It's about God's will. It's about, you know, his purpose on the earth. godly ambition is great, but selfish ambition is not. And this pertains to every sphere of our lives. We must make a decision to put off selfishness and to put on selflessness so that we can put off childish things, keep our childlike wonder and continue to step up and into the plans and purposes of God for our lives.