Summary: God is seeking take us out of our slavery to fear and adopt us as his children.
In April 1998, a series of tornadoes ripped through the southern part of the United States. A day after one of the Storms had hit the NPR program All Things Considered aired a story about a congregation called the Church of the Open Door. Their church had been destroyed the day previous. Terrified children had been in a choir rehearsal at the time of the storm. When the pastor saw the storm coming, he quickly gathered all the children in the churches main hallway. There they huddled together as the winds ripped the church apart. In an effort to calm the children’s fears, the pastor had led them in singing, “Jesus loves the little children.” Although some of the children were hurt, miraculously no one was killed. The most penetrating part of the broadcast was the report of a little girl who said, “While we were singing, I saw angels holding up the hallway. But the winds were so strong that the angels shouted, “We need help!” and some more angels came to help.” That little girl will never forget what she saw, and she knows that angels are watching over the little children, and that they are precious in Jesus sight.
Matthew 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
In an exhibit hall in Cannes Hundreds of Picasso’s paintings were in chronological display from what he had painted as an adolescent all the way up to his experiments as an 85 year old master. During the exhibit one lady approached Picasso and told him, “She did not understand, his beginning works were so mature, serious and solemn and then his later paintings are so free, different, and irrepressible. It seems like the dates should be reversed. How do you explain this? Easily replied Picasso, “It takes a long time to become young.”
Biologically we must all accept the aging of our bodies, we wear out and grow old physically, but our inner nature (our spirit) is constantly being renewed and refreshed.
The pure faith of a child can show us our own need for refreshment. A few weeks I sat down with three 6 year old girls to ask them about their faith. When I asked them What it meant to be a Christian they said, “It means that Jesus died for them, and God loves them. When I asked them why they wanted to get baptized they said, “because that is what a Christian does, and Jesus tells us to.” That is the faith of a child, and the faith we need. When was the last time we did something just because Jesus told us to do it.
So how do we become young, like little children? How do strip away the fear and doubt, the pain and hurt that run our lives, and focus on being loved by Jesus and following him?
My seventh grade year I brought 6 non Christian friends to church camp. By the end of the week we had ended the career of a great counselor and he has never counseled again. Seventh grade kids at church camp are not suppose to draw a picture of person on the door and throw home made Chinese stars at it. They are not suppose to Blow up Urinals with M 80’s, they are not suppose dump urine on other kids sleeping bags. Yet all of these kids went forward to accept Jesus, Wow, that is amazing, but why did they go? Because they were scared out of there minds not to. Who wants to live in eternity where there is weeping a gnashing of teeth? None of them raised their hands either. Who wants to live in Heaven with Jesus. Then pray for him to forgive the sins your sins, and keep praying because you are really bad. They inherited a spirit of fear, and if they were slaves to sin before, which they were, now they slaves to the fear of hell. They did not know how to be God’s Children, they were running out of a burning building.
This is an extreme case, but my friends now avoid church because the fear wore off and they don’t want to come back to have it brought back again. Sometimes I think if only they could know the God who calls them his children. Who gives us a spirit of adoption. If they could understand that God loves them so much more then their earthly fathers. Then they would fall into his arms.