Christine Caine - Childlike Faith - Part 4
Hey everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined us today. You've picked a great week to tune in and tune on. We are looking at the difference of what it is to have a childlike faith. Jesus tells us in the book of Mark chapter 10 that we are to have faith like children. And I'll tell you what, in order to do what God's called us to do, to be who God's called us be, we have to have a childlike faith. This sense of awe and wonder that God is God and we are not. And I'm telling you, that childlike awe and wonder is what keeps this faith adventure an adventure. It keeps it from getting boring. I can never understand. I've been following Jesus for over 30 years.
I cannot understand how you could be a follower of Jesus year in and year out in the word of God, listening to worship, part of church, in a small group and get more cynical, more bitter to get look like you've been kind of sucking lemons. You know those kind of grumpy old people? None of us want to be grumpy old people. What we want to be is people that are full of the life of God, the love of God that step into the abundant purpose and plan of God. Jesus said John 10:10 that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you might have life. And guess what kind of life? Life more abundant.
Now, that doesn't mean that we won't endure trials or suffering or have heartache or pain along the way, but there is an abundant life that is to be found for the child of God in the midst of a fallen and a broken world. And I want to live into that abundant life. I want to fulfill the purpose of God to do that. And in order to inherit the kingdom of God, Jesus says that we must have childlike faith. He says unless you have the faith of a child, there needs to be a child likeness in our faith with God, in an awesome sense of adventure in our relationship with God. Now at the same time that in Mark chapter 10, Jesus says that truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
So the only way you can receive the kingdom of God is like a little child. That's not a once and done thing. Have you ever seen a kid? I was just talking with a friend of mine. We were talking about when our kids were babies, there would be a TV show that they would love, or a song that they would love. And I'm telling you, that thing was on repeat every single minute. I mean, Catherine would just be, we'd watch Dora, it'd be like, "Again, mommy"? And I'm like, "Have you got amnesia"? What is your problem? We just watched this for 45 times. But every time was like the first time. I think it's like that. We don't always get the mushy feelings, but it's like, Lord, here we go again. Your mercies are new today. Your love is new today. Your grace is here for me today. You've got your word for me today. They're ought to be, you know, some people look down at you when you've got that kind of fate, that kind of childlike awe and wonder.
And some people think, "Well, look, you should have grown out of that by now. You should be more mature". And what they mean by more mature is that you should look like you're sucking lemons as if somehow it's depressing being a Christian. I refuse to play that game. I'm 56 years old this year, and I've still got a glint in my eye, a spring in my step. There's still this excitement about this relationship with Jesus. Yes, there is pain. Yes, there are days that it's hard. Yes, there's been betrayal and hurt and disappointment and disillusionment, but Jesus is faithful. Jesus is awesome. Jesus is true. I'm still in love with Jesus. I still have that childlike awe and wonder.
And yet at the same time, Paul writes in the book of 1 Corinthians, I love this, in 1 Corinthians 13, he says in verse 11, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reason like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things". So Paul says, "Okay, there was a time when I was a child, so I thought like one, I acted like one, I talked like one. But there was a time when I finally matured and I had to put off childish things". And we're talking in this series about what it is to put off childish things. And we realize that children are selfish. So as we grow in the things of God, we need to put off selfishness, and we need to be becoming more selfless. It is a sign of maturity. And if you don't put off childish things, you will carry those childish things with you into maturity. Some things that are cute in your first year of being a Jesus follower are not cute in your sixth year or your 10th year.
We ought to be maturing. That is the goal of our Christian life, to come up into maturity, into the fullness of our head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ-like is the goal of our Christian walk. And so we've got to put off our selfishness, we've got to put off insensitivity. Kids are often and they're just in their own orbit. They're just like insensitive to the world around them. You and I need to not be tone deaf to the world around us. We need to be compassionate and empathetic. We need to be people that are engaged in our world and bringing a taste of heaven to earth in our world. So change and transformation can happen in the world around us. There ought to be this sense that we're not disconnected from that world.
Also, kids often are very demanding. You can see it, man. You see it in the supermarket or kids having like a temper tantrum. "Mine, I want this". You see it on the sporting field, demanding, "I want this now". Kids are not known for their patience. What they want, they want it and they want it now. I'm hungry now. I want to play with a ball now. I want their fruit loops off the cereal shelf now. Everything's like now, now, now. And a sign of our Christian maturity is when we stop being demanding and we grow in patience. And in a world that is all about gratifying the flesh, that is all about having what you want, now, I mean, we want to an app for everything, man. I want to watch this show now. I'm going to just download it now. I want an Uber to come to me now. I want to door dash this now. I want a reservation on open table now.
Everything in our world is designed us to be comfortable now. I mean, we once had Amazon. Then it got to Amazon prime and then it was Amazon now. We want everything now in our world and we get so irritated if we don't get it. So rather than putting off impatience and putting off being demanding, we kind of just go with it. And what that does is thwart our maturation process. That keeps us being children. Now remember, Paul says, "I've put off childish things", I put them off so we can remain childlike when it comes to our faith in God, but we need to put off childish things. And so the fact is that in our culture today, you and I need to make some decisions about the things that we're going to put off. We're going to put off anger I think would be a big thing in the cultural moment in which we live. And children, whew, they tend to get angry and fly off the handle. We've said that they throw temper tantrums and particularly in public places.
How embarrassing can that be when you're a parent? But the fact is that God does not expect mature Christians to be acting out in anger. In fact, the scripture says, "Be angry, but sin not". There's a difference of our righteous anger that is a righteous anger against injustice. I'm very, very angry. I pray righteously against the injustice of human trafficking. In Ephesians 4:26, it says, "Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger". But unbridled anger because of a lack of self-control, it's something that you and I must choose to put off, because we have a world truly right now that is angry and divided and chaotic and it's out of control. I mean, I have so minimized my own social media use because it's not good for my soul. When I look at supposed brothers and sisters and read the kinds of things that are said and posted, it just grieves my heart. I'm thinking people lashing out in anger, saying things in anger. So little self-control.
In fact, in Luke 9:51-56, James and John, the guys that were called sons of thunder, now they were passing with Jesus through Samaria, and the Samaritans were not very hospitable towards Jesus. So what did James and John do? They basically lost their cool. And they wanted to call down fire from heaven. And they wanted to destroy the whole town. Do you remember that? And Jesus actually rebuked them for what? He calls it childishness. It's childish to allow your emotions to get so out of control and just fly off the handle because things don't go your way. I'm wondering today, how many times have you lost your temper? How I hear people speak to airline attendants or someone maybe in a line because there's been a cancellation or flights are not back where they were before the pandemic, and it's like people are just yelling at people, as if it's some person's fault or a customer service assistant's fault. And it's like there is no self-control anymore. See, anyone can lose their temper, but it takes a really strong person to exercise self-control.
We've had a pandemic, we've had racial injustice, we've got war going on. We've had so many other sicknesses and diseases and job losses and economic challenges. There are so many things happening in our world. There's environmental disaster. There is so much going on and people don't know what to do, so there's this pent up anger and we are lashing out at one another in a way that is out of control. I wonder how many times we've lashed out in reaction and just regretted it. Just regretted it. I think because self-control is a fruit of the spirit, we should be praying that God builds the self-control up in us. And it starts in little ways. It starts by just you taking control of certain areas of your life, and me doing the same in mine, and just deciding, "I'm not going to lose it no matter what happens".
I already make up my mind. There are certain things, and my kids are laughing 'cause they're going, "Mom, you're growing in this". Things that would just have set me off. I've just gone, you know what? I remember when I first started to travel international again after the pandemic, and of course, there were just still so many rules and regulations. Every country had its own rules and regulations and different mask mandate laws and different vaccination laws and different places you could go and couldn't go.
And I remember saying to my girls, and nick and I having a conversation and I said, before I even start this trip and it was a trip for a month into many different countries around Europe, I said, "I've already made up my mind that I'm just not going to lose my cool. I've already made up my mind that I know there's travel restrictions, that travel expectations are different to what they were before the pandemic. That hotel things are different. Everything is different about what I will be doing, but I believe God has called me to go and to minister the word of God. And so whatever I need to do, I'm going to do". And you know the difference because I made up my mind, just made up my mind, all of the things that I know pre-pandemic, I might have lost my cool over and thought this is just unacceptable.
You know what I discovered? That if I allowed the holy spirit to develop the fruit of self-control in me, the things that I thought were just like worthy of being out of control over, it is amazing how much self-control I could exercise. All of us can do better on self-control. And a lot of that has got to do with just making up your mind. It is amazing in a relationship if you just make up your mind, I am just not going to go off the handle. No matter what happens, I'm going into this dialogue. I know it could get heated. I know we're on different views. I know we see things differently, and we're seeing this all over the world right now. People voting different. People just losing their minds over stuff that is not kingdom, but it's just personal preference or a secondary issue.
So what we have to do is say, "Lord, this is important to me, but not so important that I'm going to lose my witness over this. I'm going to put on self-control". It's only a child that has no self-control. So when people are like, "I couldn't help it". You can help it. You have the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead living on the inside of you. You can help it. You don't need to be out of control when it comes to gratifying the flesh and lust. You have self-control. It is a fruit of the spirit of God. So you can make a choice. And the best way to exercise self-control is not in the heat of the moment when things start to get out of control, but it's to make up your mind before the moment that you're going to have self-control in the moment. If you've ever been around children, you're going to know that they're generally irresponsible in their behavior. They could be undisciplined and they can be unreasonable. It's just a part of childhood. Children are not born obedient, disciplined, or reasonable.
Listen, if you don't believe that there is a true Adamic nature, just have a child. You'll go, whew, I think I believe in original sin. The young people don't have to learn. Children do not have to learn how to be naughty or how to be disobedient. What we have to learn is how to be disciplined. What we have to learn is how to be reasonable. We actually have to learn how to do the right thing. We read in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it".
So responsible and disciplined living and reasonable choices, they don't come naturally to anyone. We have to be trained in these things. And I found that even as adults, we have to stay in a lifelong training program so that we will continue to do things God's way and not our own way. That is why you and i, we need to remain in the word of God. We need to remain a part of a life-giving local church. We need to be part of a small group. We're in training for Christian maturity. It's something that we grow into. The unfortunate truth is that many Christian adults honestly act in really irresponsible ways.
And I know this might be hard to hear right now, but it's irresponsible to carry major credit card debt. It's irresponsible to just attend church like a consumer and not serve or contribute in some way. It's irresponsible not to work or not to pay child support, if that's what you're supposed to do, to neglect your family. It's irresponsible to neglect your physical health or the development and stewardship of your gifts and talents. That's irresponsibility. And we want to put off those childish things, and we want to be responsible people for the glory of God.
Now, listen, I know some of you think, mama Chris, you did some meddling there. And it's only because I love you. It's only because I love you and I want to see you mature and grow up into all things to thrive and flourish in your Christian walk and to be the man or woman of God that you are called to be. So we've got to choose to put off irresponsibility and to put on responsibility in our lives. Let's be people who are passionate in our lives about remaining childlike in our faith. But we're also so committed to maturity and to putting off childish things. I think that's so important that we continue to remember the difference between being childlike and childish.
So to be who God's called us to be, we've got to remain childlike. And can I just say, that's something that's often mocked and ridiculed and scorned, not just in our world, but oftentimes, you'll find other believers that will think, "Oh, look, that's just childlike faith". And when they say that to me, it's like I'm thinking, am I supposed to be insulted, because I'm not insulted? Because Jesus actually says that we are to have a childlike faith. And I know sometimes, when we increase in wisdom or knowledge, and I saw this as I went back to grad school and got increased training and I love growing in knowledge and I love getting more understanding. But I'm not going to do that at the expense of a childlike faith. And I'm not saying you can't have both, because you can have both. And in fact, we should have both. We should be growing in wisdom, we should be growing in knowledge. We should be growing in stature. And we should be growing in our understanding of the things of God.
And that should actually produce in us deeper childlike faith, deeper awe, deeper wonder, deeper trust of God. Maybe we don't understand it all, but we trust who he is. And can I just challenge you maybe today that if you've lost that child-likeness in your faith, ask the holy spirit to restore unto you the joy of your salvation. Ask the holy spirit to restore unto you a child-like sense of awe and wonder and spontaneity to want to step up and into the faith adventure that is ours as followers of Jesus Christ. The longer we walk with God and the more we come across betrayal and pain and suffering and disappointment and discouragement, don't allow that to get into your spirit. Don't allow that to get into your heart. Don't allow that to take your childlike faith away from you.
The fact is God is bigger than us. God is infinite. You and I are finite. We are never going to be able to understand fully an infinite God, but we can trust him fully. That's going to take childlike faith. At the same time that we continue to cultivate and nurture a child-likeness in our faith. We have to choose to intentionally put we've got to put off those things that cause us to keep acting like children and stop us maturing when it comes to the things of God. Therefore, that will stop us from stepping up and into the purpose of God for our lives.
So there comes a time, especially in our culture, that is so full of childish behaviors. Christians ought to be showing a maturity in our lives. So we've got to put off selfishness and we've got to put on selflessness. We've got to put off insensitivity and we've got to put off being demanding and impatient, and we've got to put on being patient. We've got to put off anger and put on being peacemakers and peacekeepers in the things of God. We've got to be people that pursue the plans and purposes of God by becoming more Christ-like.
Can I just say, if it doesn't look like Jesus, if it doesn't taste like Jesus, if it doesn't smell like Jesus, it's probably not Jesus. So what is it in our character, what is it in our actions, in our reactions, and in our thought life that keep us in a place of thinking like children, acting like children, reacting like children rather than putting those things off and walking in the wisdom, the maturity, the grace, the understanding and the knowledge that is a sign of a believer that is growing up in maturity into the fullness of the knowledge of God so that we can reflect the image of God in our lost and broken world? What our world desperately needs is mature Christians acting like mature Christians in a lost and a broken world. In Jesus' name.