We have all heard someone say very spiritually that they do not get into the deep things of the faith. They simply have a childlike faith. Certainly we cannot argue against the expression of a childlike faith since Jesus himself makes it clear that this type of faith is the kind of those in the kingdom of heaven. Even so, when someone makes such a statement I always clarify what a childlike faith means. A childlike faith is one that simply hears what Christ says and obeys him. It is a pure trust in Christ that leads to obedience. Most of the time that I have made this comment it exposes the true motivation of one’s heart. To call for a childlike faith is normally a call to be ignorant of sin or what Christ commands so that one will not have to obey the Lord.
Even so, is a childlike faith where Christ wants us to remain? I think we must answer this with two interconnected points.
- First, let us remember that Jesus says that childlike faith is the stuff of the kingdom of heaven. Thus this type of faith is important. Even so, this type of faith is important to our motivations. It is by true that unless we weave the simple childlike trust in Christ into the fabric of our faith, we may know all things, but refuse to obey anything Jesus says.
- Second, let us remember a passage like Luke 24:44-49. Jesus did not expect that his disciples would remain as ones with childlike faith alone. Inasmuch as childlike faith is present so too must a deep and thorough knowledge of what Jesus says be present in the fabric of our faith. In this passage, Jesus returns again and again to the important role of the Scriptures to the life of the believer. True disciples have their minds opened to understand that all the Scriptures are given that we can see Christ as their end and goal. From this conviction the true disciple surrenders too Christ’s command that repentance and forgiveness be proclaimed, presumably from all the Scriptures. Finally Jesus commands the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to clothe them with power on high. In other words they should depend on the Spirit’s power to obey the call of the Scriptures not their own willingness or ability.
God blessed me a week or so ago to go with the opportunity to hear R.C Sproul preach while he was in Columbia, SC at First Presbyterian Church. He well summed up my thoughts with a phrase something like this, “God desires that we have a childlike faith but not a childish faith”. May we surrender to our Good Shepherd and permit him to lead us not into childish frivolities, but into the good works promised to us in His Word.