We are Called to be Grown-Up Children.

Matthew 18:1-3

“1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Last week, as I was completing my observation hours for one of my classes, I noticed something, and realized something very interesting—- and important. I was in a second-grade classroom for an entire week, so I got to experience just about anything and everything that you can imagine. But the one thing that God specifically pointed out to me, made me realize, is the eternal truth that we are called to be God’s CHILDREN, no matter how grown up in the faith that we are, and no matter our earthly age. No matter how old we are, no matter how long we’ve been a believer, no matter how long we’ve been following Jesus. As we continue to believe, follow and grow up/mature in Jesus, we don’t climb some special, supernatural ladder that leads us to His position, or surpasses anyone else on that said, non-existing, ladder. From the beginning to the end, we were called, we ARE called, by God, from God, for God, and through God, to be HIS children. Humbling ourselves before HIM as our Father. We are His children, NOT His “sidekicks“.

There are a few things that the good Father, the All-mighty LORD and GOOD GOOD GREATTTT SAVIOR pointed out to me about these children, as this example, inside and outside of the classroom, and I am going to share a few 🙂 ….

Children are BOLD and NOT afraid.

I noticed and realized how bold children are, how they do not care to notice what others around them may think. They are BOLD to be who they are- they don’t sit down to think about what another soul may think of them. They act and speak freely, not worried about what comes next or what has just occurred. They are BOLD to love and show love- children do all sorts of things in LOVE for one another, only because of what they have been TAUGHT and NATURALLY KNOW! They are bold to go out of their way for someone who needs help. They are bold to step out and help someone in need, even if someone else does not see it. I watched a second grade boy put a girl‘s chair down for her, so that she wouldn’t have to. When one person’s pencil case fell and everything scattered, I watched AN ENTIRE SIDE OF A CLASSROOM rush to help the student pick up their things. This was so sweet and is so beyond amazing to me. Children are NOT AFRAID to show love towards anyone. They notice a need and address it, no questions asked. They get it, even when we don’t think they do. What we don’t “get” is that they don’t “get” that there is some “boundary” holding us back- call it what you will, pride, laziness, “someone else will/can do it”-ness. They don’t “get” that. And that is amazing. We need to un “get” that.

Children are so OPEN AND HONEST. They are confident in who they are because of WHO’S they are- children are NOT afraid to come up to (basically) a stranger and show their artwork, which they are so proud of, not critiquing but PROUD of. Several times, the students would come up to me and show me what they drew/colored, with big smiles on their faces. One day after lunch, a little boy started a conversation with me. Another little girl chimed in, complimenting my necklace (which is a cross by the way, WOOHOO HAPPY DANCE!!). One morning even started off by me getting to know them a little better, by some telling me what sports they play!!

Children recognize, respect, and obey/respond to the voice of AUTHORITY.

When I was hosting a spelling test (big step for me, I was SUPER DUPER excited when asked to do so!), I was AMAZED at the students’ response as soon as I said “Number three.”, indicating the move onto the next sentence. IMMEDIATELY, and I mean IMMEDIATELY, every child’s head looked down to their paper, PREPARED to write. No questions. Just WAITING for me to give instructions, to tell them what to write.

Do you remember those clapping attention-grabbers from school? Whatever the teacher does, the students do. I saw this so much while observing. No matter how many claps, the students would do exactly that- and it was all eyes on the teacher.

They knew how to behave- they knew naturally and they had been taught.

They will LISTEN to authority- intently. If you tell a child to do something and HOW to do it, more often than not, you have their full attention– all eyes on you. Children DESIRE to learn. They want to know what, how, why, who, where and so on. They WILL follow your lead.

Children know what to do- because they’ve been taught.

Each morning, as I sat in my chair in the corner of the classroom, I watched these sweet students walk into the classroom little by little (no pun intended #tinybutmighty), put their backpacks away, and go right to their assigned desks, take their chairs off of the desk, and begin their morning work. This was obviously routine. This has been oh so successfully engrained into these children’s minds, so much so that it seems to come natural. They know what the teacher expects them to do, and they follow through with it, even when they have questions.

Children know who to run to when things get messy.

Countless times I watched students run up to the teachers around them when something went not as planned, or when there was an issue. They knew that the teacher was there, that only the teacher could help, and that the teacher would take care of them and the situation. They trust them.

Children aren’t afraid to get uncomfortable and messy/dirty.

On my walk/run recently, I looked ahead of me at some dirt/mud mixture in the grass. I thought about how it would be if I just decided to get all up in it, roll around in it, just having fun (I didn’t, in case you were wondering!). I was then reminded of the way of children. When you were a kid, you didn’t think about the consequences of rolling around in mud, you didn’t care that you would get dirty, you just knew it would be fun (unless you weren’t into that sort of thing). I thought about how freeing this is, that children don’t seem to think about how unpopular and weird it would be in society for some grown-ups to roll around in some mud, get a little dirty, uncomfortable, vulnerable. But for children, it’s a really cute (and messy!) photo-op.

Several years ago, a thought came to my mind that I still remember to this day. The thought goes something like this-

I find it so interesting that when we were children, we had those matching pajama sets for bedtime, ones with characters or patterns or whatever, some with footies, etc., our outfits all “put together” for bed, with a whole routine to go along with it, and to play outside we would have the most mismatched outfits (just ask us for some throwback photos, I’m sure we can find some good ones for ya). When we grew up, everything changed (literally- okay, pun intended there!). It’s now switched– we could care less about what we wear to sleep in. We care more about how we look when we step outside- the routine is crazy. We try to make sure we look good in front of everyone, and behind closed doors we don’t seem to mind what we look like.

What I have come to realize and learn from all of this– is that I am a child of THE KING. I knew this, for sure, but because of Him and Him showing me this, I have a whole new perspective on it with a whole new appreciation to go along with it. We need to be grown-up children.

In the Bible, it is mentioned several times in the gospels when Jesus tells the people to be like children. He does not mean that we should act foolishly, be immature or not grow up in our ways. Jesus is saying that we still need HIM. Always. Forever. Eternally.

We were called by Him to be His children. He is our Good, Good, GRRRREAT Heavenly Father. He has adopted us into His family, to be HIS, and to walk with Him, following Him in everything, in every moment, no matter our age. He wants us to know and understand that no matter how wise we may think we are becoming, we still need Him. No matter how long we have known Him, we still need Him. No matter how long we have been walking with Him, and following Him, we still need Him. -We are not called to be God, or to be in HIS position; we are CALLED by HIM to follow Him, His ways, in awe and reverence- which He deserves from us and beyond what we can give-

So how does this look, to simply be God’s child?

Can you imagine if we were like children, if we were to be how they are in everyday life, as we follow Christ? Things would be so much different; they would be changed, and we would too. Our perspective would change, our ways of thinking would change, and our actions would be change, all for the better.

Can you imagine if we were as bold as children? The kind of boldness that is not rooted in pride, in a puffed up chest or in boasting. The kind of boldness that is willing to follow The Father, His ways, and step out without taking a single glance at what else is happening around us. Not thinking about the past or the future, but being completely confident in who we are, in WHOSE we are, WILLING to take a step, no matter what others around us may think, do or say. Children are not afraid to do the right thing, even if when it is not the most popular.

Can you imagine if we were as open and honest as the children? If we didn’t think about others’ thoughts or the world’s opinions, and instead we confidently ran to the Father, and to others around us, with every little thing we do, with everything that we are feeling. Excitement, instead of fear. Confidence in what is laid out on the paper, instead of critiquing a mark on the page that may be out of line or out of place. PROUD of the work that was accomplished, big or small, instead of seeking approval from the world.

Can you imagine if we ran to the Father in the same way that children run to anyone in a room, just to tell them about themselves, what is going on or an event that has taken place in their lives? Children are not afraid to come up to you in complete excitement and tell you about what sports they enjoy, or something little about their day. They will come up to you and tell you about something that maybe didn’t even go their way. What if we -immediately- ran to The Father like this? Yes, He does already know everything, even every little thing about us, but He WANTS us to come to Him. He desires for us to be so overjoyed to come to Him about our days, what we’re feeling, good or bad, no matter how big and no matter how small. He wants a relationship, not a religion.

Can you imagine if we, as children, responded to The Lord, our Heavenly Father, as quickly as these children do on a spelling test? What if we took HIM seriously, knowing that He is THE Almighty God, and our loving Father, Who desires to help us and hold us up by His right hand. To know Him, be in complete awe of Him, and be His humble servant, ready and eager and WILLING to serve Him, to move when He says move. To walk when He says walk. To wait what He says wait. To speak when He says to speak. And to trust in HIM, always, and through it all! Not questioning out loud, or even in our hearts, what could go wrong or what could go right, not thinking about the “what-ifs”, just obeying, in complete reverence to Him. What if we were so focused on Him, on Jesus, that our minds and ears couldn’t even hear the things of this world? What if they fell off of us like a sticker that didn’t stick?

Can you imagine if we ran to the Father for our needs and desires? Even when things get messy, when there is an issue that needs to be addressed, whether inside of us or outside, can you imagine if we had the desire and willingness to run to HIM for comfort, instead of the things of this world? If we didn’t run to the distractions in our lives, but to Peace and Love and Life and Light Himself? Children admit to needing help. They unashamedly ask of it, because they know that they cannot do something on their own and that you will and can help them. They don’t try to hide it-they may try to do it on their own, but they will most certainly realize their need for help. The same is with our Heavenly Father, the Prince of Peace.

Can you imagine if we didn’t see uncomfortable and messy as a bad thing? If we didn’t fear it, but feared GOD instead? Can you imagine if instead of worrying about getting dirty and uncomfortable, and how unpopular it is when the world looks at you doing something like that, if we were like children and saw the good in getting a little dirty and uncomfortable– if we got out of these earthly/worldly comfort zones and into the confident comfort zone of The King, which has NO bounds! What if we stepped out, spoke to that person, that soul. What if we stepped out, jumped into that “part of town”. What if we stepped out and spoke LIFE into that person, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may seem. The truth is the truth and the TRUTH will set you free! (John 8:32)

Can you imagine? It is completely possible with His help. And only HIS help. No one and nothing else satisfies the need we have for our Heavenly Father. This desire in our hearts can only be satisfied by Him, God. JESUS: YAHWEH SAVES!

The idea and truth that we need to be grown up children does not mean that we need to be taking a bottle in the faith everyday of our lives since salvation and following Jesus. Jesus makes it clear in His Word that we will become mature, and yet by His grace.. by His grace, we see that He lovingly, calls us by name. He calls us His children. We have been adopted by God because He wanted us. He knows that we are weak, but He is strong. We-everyone- have one desire- only to be fulfilled by Jesus, because He is the only One Who satisfies, eternally!

We will grow up and mature by His grace, but God wants us to know Him by Who He is– our Father. He wants us to know that He IS good, that He IS our Shepherd, and that He WILL take (great) care of us, beyond our wildest imagination. He wants us to know that He has adopted us to be HIS. He wants us to know that we are sitting at His feet, for a child’s perspective is ALWAYS one that is looking up to the Father. He wants us to know that we are His, we belong to Him, and He is our HOME. Children get curious. Childhood is a time of experimenting and learning, and Jesus wants us to know that He is always the CONSTANT One here for us, here WITH us, to run to, and to cry to, and to seek eternally.

As I was researching some verses from Scripture about child-like faith, I came across this description of who/what children are- “Humble and teachable.” We will NEVER grow out of being His child. We will NEVER grow out of needing HIS loving-kindness filled grace, and HIS eternal GUIDANCE.

We grow up, and we do away with childish things, but this isn’t about us. This is about The Father. The fact that He desires for us to KNOW— to KNOW that He is still The Father and we are HIS children is beyond amazing and beyond our comprehension.

I will end this post with something else God showed me. The other night, I was playing on a Bible color-by-number app on my phone (so fun, I know!) and I realized something. There was a picture before me, with different sections to color. There was a laid out set of directions, each with a number and the color coordinating with it. Y’all. This may seem so random- but it was so profound to me in thinking about what i have been learning about being a child recently. This coloring process was straightforward and guided by the steps already created, already taken for me. All I had to do was obey, and be willing to take it step-by-step. I didn’t know how long it would take, and I didn’t ask questions. I simply followed the path laid out before me, seeing this picture come together, piece by piece. In the end, when it was all completed, a beautiful picture was before me.

What if we trusted God enough to follow Him step-by-step, no questions asked? He has given us a straightforward path, have unashamed obedience; just follow Him.

We will always need His guidance and grace. Simply be this- God’s child. Press into Him. He is here with you!!

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”