Childlike vs. Childish

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.- Matthew 18:1-4

Over and over again the Bible commands us to come to Jesus with a childlike faith. What exactly does that mean? It means to accept Him without trying to understand or over-analyze. Coming to Christ with a childlike faith is coming to Him and saying, "I don't know how You can do it, but I believe You can save me, and I surrender my life to you." I think, however, that our childlike faith is not supposed to stop there. Trusting in Christ for salvation is wonderful, but what about trusting Him in everyday life? I'm afraid that's where many of us turn from childlike to childish.

With our grown-up minds, we simply can't fathom how God can (or will) help us out of difficult circumstances. So we plot and scheme to work things out for ourselves, and we all know how well that works (about as well as me trying to find my way to the airport without VERY detailed directions). That's where the childish behavior comes in. We pout and fuss. We whine and complain. We throw our temper tantrums and pity parties. We act childish when God is simply waiting for us to become childlike. There is a difference!

I admit that I often find it easier to be childish than childlike. It's easy to pout and complain. I find comfort in my pity parties. It's difficult, on the other hand, to come to Jesus and say, "I don't know how You're going to work this out, but I know You will. I surrender the burden to You." I find that so difficult, and even when I'm able to say it, I'm afraid I don't truly mean it. In the back of my mind, I'm still plotting and scheming to figure out how I can "help God out."

Childlike or childish? Which would you rather be? Better yet, which one are you today?

Dear Lord,
Please help me today to distinguish between the childlike and the childish attitude. Help me to surrender my life to You, trusting in You for all things. Please guard my tongue that I don't grumble and complain but instead use my mouth for praising You. Help me, Lord, to increase my faith. I believe. Help thou mine unbelief. Amen.