Childlike

Posted on November 3, 2017.
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Dr. Doug Posey  
e*sermon

 

How many times have you seen God do the impossible? Really, think about it. Have you ever said, “It won’t happen; it can’t happen,” only to be surprised when what you hoped would happen does happen? Well, if that has ever happened to you, then why do you begin to doubt when you’re faced with a seeming obstacle?

Every time I look at the story of the Israelites in the wilderness, or their cycle of doubt and belief in the book of Judges, I’m reminded how much like them I can be. Despite the fact that I see God do miraculous things (practically on a weekly basis) I still tend to get nervous when things become uncertain. Why is that?

You would be amazed to see a list of the things that God has done through LOC--the many hundreds of lives He has touched, His miraculous provision, His answers to prayer, the divine appointments He has arranged, just since we started Living Oaks a little over thirteen years ago! It seems like yesterday. Looking back, I see that He has gone beyond my puny hopes and has often provided more and in better ways than I could have imagined. Yet, I still get a case of the willies when a new challenge arises. Why is that?!!

I think I have at least part of the answer figured out: We think we need to be in control and tend to be more comfortable when we think we are. I truly believe that many people would be willing to settle for the fulfillment of their puny hopes; the ones that lie completely within their grasp, rather than entrusting things to God. And, if you tried to help them exchange their small, self-reliant hopes and dreams for some God-sized ones, they would protect them with the ferocity of a cornered pit bull. Why is that?!!!

Well, the other part of the answer is simply pride. We tend to want to take the credit—due or undue—for our accomplishments. We’ll often settle for the insignificant and unimportant, simply for the right to say, “I did it.”

The need to do it ourselves is a natural and normal part of our fallen human state. Any of us that have had experience with toddlers know that reliance on Mom and Dad is not a quality to which these tots assign much value. In fact, if Mom, or Dad, tries to assist the youngster in certain tasks, they will be roundly rebuffed with a no-nonsense, “I DO IT!” And of course, no matter the inconvenience, we let them. Whether it’s pouring her own juice, buckling his own belt, we wait patiently and as the little one accomplishes the task, sometimes frustratingly slowly or with a resulting mess. But, they nonetheless resist parental intervention. At a certain point, the child realizes he or she is capable of only so much.

If we insist on doing things ourselves; settling only for what is humanly possible, God will let us. He doesn’t push His ways on us. In His grace, He lets us know that there is a better way. He offers His assistance. But, ultimately it is up to us to release our grip and allow Him to be God.

More than once in the Gospels, Jesus uses children to exemplify the kind of faith we need to have in order to live truly effective lives. He goes so far as to say, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Childlike faith is necessary both in recognizing our need for Christ and in living out our faith in Him. We see God’s greatest works when we recognize that He is God and we are His children.

King David learned that lesson when he decided he was going to build a house for God. His goal was to get God’s presence out of the temporary tent into a beautiful home, a temple built by David for God’s glory. A noble ambition. But, it was not to be. David had to learn to submit to God’s will and to God’s timetable. David did some great things for God, but God is still God and David was His child.

God commended David, “‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.’” In other words, nice thought David, but God is still God and ultimately, it’s His decision. As we set goals for God, it’s important to do it with childlike faith, trusting Him completely, but not being childish and insisting we do it our way.

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” ─MATTHEW 18:4 NASB