Coming to Him like a Child

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Tom shared how we can approach our Father with childlike boldness and freedom.  Listen to the audio here to get the stories and relational aspects that help communicate these truths.  See some bare notes below:

How do we view ourselves, judge ourselves–specifically in relation to God?

This video shows a very good endeavour to inspire bravery in place of fear of failure.  Tackling the unwillingness to take risks due to perfectionism.  This is aimed at girls, but maybe they are not the only ones who grow up thinking they need to be perfect:

Can you identify with holding back to avoid mistakes, thinking you musn’t get it wrong?

It’s so difficult to avoid being critical of others.  It’s all around our world.  When is the last time you heard a news report of a politician or teacher doing a great job?

Whether we are assessing our children’s behaviour or a colleague at work, how gracious are we?   What kind of judge am I and what does it say about how I judge myself?

Think of someone who is intensely curious about the world, who loves reading and drawing, seems to have boundless energy, and constantly comes up with fresh ideas.  Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, who were artists as well as inventors with great curiosity.  Maybe children are even better examples.  Creativity flourishes with risks, experimentation, fearlessness.

Jesus said “you must become just like a child to enter the kingdom of God” in Matthew 18:3.

Kids are uncritical

Kids are not afraid to fail

Kids get it wrong all the time

Kids know that someone else is in charge

 

Let’s remember what our Father God is like. What kind of judge is He?

Slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145).

Let’s remember what Jesus is like (Matthew 9):

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.  While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

This is God’s grace for us. That He loves us like a Father loves his children. That’s why we need to become like children to enter His Kingdom, because we have to give up the pretence that we’ve got it all sorted. We have to accept that He’s in charge and loves us and accepts us because we know that’s we’re in the wrong. Not because we’ve got it right.

The inspiration for our teaching this term is a book called the Ragamuffin Gospel. It says:

“There is a myth flourishing in the church today that has caused incalculable harm: once converted, fully converted. In other words, once I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, an irreversible, sinless future beckons. Discipleship will be an untarnished success story; life will be an unbroken upward spiral toward holiness.  Tell that to poor Peter who, after three times professing his love for Jesus on the beach and after receiving the fullness of the Spirit at Pentecost, was still jealous of Paul’s apostolic success.”

Another quote from Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel says, “Often I have been asked, ‘Brennan, how is it possible that you became an alcoholic after you got saved?’ It is possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure; because I got discouraged, uncertain, guilt-ridden, and took my eyes off Jesus. Because the Christ-encounter did not transfigure me into an angel. Because justification by grace through faith means I have been set in right relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table.”

The challenge for us today, whether we’re being asked to judge someone else’s work, behaviour, or just ourselves, is to remember that we are broken, fragile people who need God’s grace. That God is God and I am not. That there is nothing we can do to make us deserve God’s love and acceptance. That we are His children. And he calls us to come to Him,

Without judging ourselves.  Unafraid.  Without cynicism.  Admitting that we get it wrong.  Knowing that He is in charge.

Steven Curtis Chapman, “God is God”