Saturday, I made my usual trek to the beach to watch the Sunrise and have my private conversation with God. When I had finished giving thanks for all that I had, and asking for His forgiveness, I closed our little chat with “Amen” and rose to my feet.
After looking out towards the ocean and watching the Sun make its way into the sky, I then turned, and saw some little children playing in the water and on the sand just a short distance from where I stood.
They were splashing in the water, giggling and laughing with enjoyment. There were two little boys building a castle in the sand. Their faces were stern with concentration as if they were building a home for their very own family.
I watched for a while remembering what Jesus had said to His Disciples in response to their question as to who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 18:2-6 – “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”
I couldn’t help but wonder how we have forgotten this lesson from Christ. Why have we lost that child-like innocence that kept us in God’s favor and began living lives outside of Jesus’ valuable lesson?
Here are just a few questions I began asking myself that morning on the beach:
- Have we forgotten our Childhood?
- Do we not remember our lack of fear and the faith and trust we had in those that loved and cared for us?
- Have we lost the ability to easily co-exist with others without prejudice or judgement based on the color of their skin; their race; their sex or what their status is in society?
- Where has our own “innocence” gone to and is there any way at all to get it back?
I contemplated these questions for a while. I thought about how sad it truly is that we seem to have lost this “innocence,” therefore, separating us between what God has in store for us, and had given us, and we want in this world.
Naked and Unashamed
The parents had apparently decided their morning at the beach was over. I watched them gather up their children and begin cleaning the sand and salt water from them.
They brought them to the showers, stripped them of their clothes – right there in public view – rinsed them off and wrapped towels around them.
The children, seemingly undaunted by this public display of nudity, simply continued giggling and laughing all the way to their family’s cars.
I then recalled the story of Adam and Eve…
Genesis 2:25 – “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
Adam and Eve felt no shame or embarrassment of how they were, or were not, dressed… until they disobeyed God and took of the “Forbidden Fruit.”
Genesis 3: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’
He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’
And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’”
So we can clearly see here that, once Adam and Eve stopped listening and obeying their Father, there innocence was lost!
Its not about the nakedness… it’s about our innocence… this is what Adam and Eve lost! Have WE disobeyed God?!
How can we liken this lesson to today’s world? After all, God is still God, but who today is“the serpent?” For an obvious answer to that question, let’s go back to the children at the beach. Better yet, let’s go back to our childhood!
As our Mothers or Fathers bathed us, were we not completely naked did we care?! NO, but we had complete trustin our parents and their care for us that took away any and all concern about our “vulnerable” state.
We trusted them, 100%; we put all of our fate in their hands; and we believed in everything they would do for us without question, as they would never bring harm to us… without hesitation.
Is God not still our Father? Have we lost our trust in Him… or are we completely vulnerable to our “nakedness” in society today?
Jesus taught His Disciples to “be like the children.” What this meant was to put our trust, belief and faith in our Father unconditionally as a child does.
Let’s take some further lessons from the Word of God to try and understand how He would have us be in this day and age.
Being Like a Child
We just read in Matthew 18, about “taking the lowly position of a child” and becoming the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, without digging deep into the psychological journals about what “being like a child” should be, let’s just take some simple facts that I think we can all attest to as to what this exactly mean.
- We should be unashamed of our innocence.
- We don’t care if we don’t know it all or have it all.
- We don’t care about the color of another’s skin; their race; their sex; or their rank in society.
- We don’t sit in judgement of anyone and treat everyone around us with equal kindness, understanding and compassion.
- We Love our God and trust in Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and will do whatever He has charged us with doing.
As a child would, we must remember how God sees people… not how society sees people.
1 Samuel 16:7 – “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
Think about it… these are the characteristics of a child… a child of the Most-High God. These are the simple rules He would have us live by. Have we forgotten? Can we get this back?
Again, quoting Jesus’ lesson in Matthew 18, “become like little children” and regain your innocence in God’s eyes.
Acting Like a Child
Okay, does anyone know the difference here? Can anyone quote me any verses in our Bible where we’re told to “act as a child?” Honestly, I can’t recall any myself.
In fact, here are a few verses that tell us NOT to act as a child:
The Apostle Paul in his teachings to the Corinthian Church, told them, very clearly, to stop thinking like children.
1 Corinthians 14:20 – “Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.”
“In regard to evil be infants.” This is where, once again, Paul tells us to maintain our innocence in regard to evil but, when it comes to our thinking, we must be adults.
Simply put, let the wisdom our God has given us guide the important decisions in our actions and in our lives.
Also from Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians, we are told how to become more mature.
Ephesians 4:13-14 – “13Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
This is what WE, as followers of Christ, should constantly be striving for… “The knowledge of the Son of God!” …and becoming mature.
As Paul goes on…
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
Once we have our understanding, we will can no longer be taken advantage of our used by society as we have matured in our knowledge and faith.
The Good News
So, now I will ask you these questions…
- Is it gone?
- Is our innocence lost forever?
- Has our innocent trust and faith disappeared as we’ve gotten older?
- Is the joy of our childhood buried in our pasts… never to return… never to be felt in our hearts again?
Guess what… NO!
Put your faith back in God. Believe in the promises that Christ made… that God and all the prophets put in writing in our Bible. Let your innocence return to you as you put all that you have in the lap of God!
If you restore the faith you had as a child… believe in God; believe in Christ… let yourself be filled by The Holy Spirit.
- You will feel His presence, It will consume you!
- You will feel the peace of The Holy Spirit fill your hearts, calm your minds and ease your tensions.
- You will feel Jesus beside you at every corner of your life!
- Whatever you’re suffering with, give it to God!
- Challenges at home
- Challenges at work
- Challenges in your relationship
- Financial burdens
- Sickness and pain
- Be DONE with fear
Get your innocence back by believing, 100%, in what God has promised us!
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Never forget your childhood. Remember the trust and faith you had as a child.
- “Be” as a child, remember and know how Loved you are!
- Judge no one! By any standards
- Give to one another freely… expecting nothing in return!
- Understand “as adults,” there will be adversity but God WILL help us through it.
- Mostly, Love one another as God Loves you!
Remember… we have a mission!
Matthew 10:16 – “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)