I was thinking recently about the term “childlike faith.”
Unquestionably, faith is the essence of the Christian life. Faith through out the Bible and is presented as an absolute necessity. In fact, “without faith, it is impossible to please God” Hebrews 11:6. The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is about faith and those who possessed it.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible never tell us to believe as children believe. Often misunderstood is Matthew 18:2-4, in which Jesus says that we must “become as little children.” But Jesus was not referring to faith here, but rather to humility. Whoever “humbles himself” as a little child is the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” There is no discussion of faith in this passage. Rather, He tell us us to seek the humility of a child who is without ambition, pride, and haughtiness.
Children are characteristically humble and teachable. But the faith of children are easily fooled and led astray. They tend to accept things unquestioningly, often missing truth while being drawn to myths and fantasies. We are rather to “test everything” and hold on to what is good. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Childlike Faith is the wonder and awe at what Christ did for us.
It is a synergy of trust and hope that knows the Lord loves us and will lead us. Because of our trust in the Lord, we are more able to take comfort in Him. This type sees the world as exciting and adventurous, and worth pursuing with our faith so opportunities to please God override our complacency and the attitude of “been there, done that,” even though we may have. It is a part of us that we should never lose.
Consider this passage: Romans 8:17 (The Message) This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Hebrews 11:1 states: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” but that doesn’t mean we accept blindly as a child often does. True faith, the gift from God, is characterized by “assurance” and “conviction,” not by blind belief for no reason. Simple childlike faith, while perhaps a good place to start, must mature into a deeper faith and personal relationship that leads to certainty and a heart filled with joy that only comes from an assured confidence in the object of our faith—Jesus Christ.
Also, as adults, we can become too self-sufficient and have too big of an ego. I pray that God will help me to focus on him in a child like way realizing I am dependent on him for everything that truly matters. Finally, Brennan Manning spells it out this way: “For the disciple of Jesus ‘becoming like a little child’ means the willingness to accept oneself as being of little account and to be regarded as unimportant,” and may I add—that God is of great account and of utmost importance.”