May 12, 2016

Simplicity — like a child

Children are spontaneous, at least in they start out that way. Then they form habits, become predictable, and lose some of that spontaneous charm. I’ve wondered if this has anything to do with Jesus saying we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of God?

Chambers writes about being spontaneous in the sense that our habits (of obedience) have been practiced to the point that we are not conscious of them being habits. We just do what God wants without thinking or deliberation.

To me, this seems a growth into that child-likeness that Jesus described. Instead of a choice to be polite, or to lovingly serve others, or to share the gospel because our Father told us to, we just do it without premeditation. It has become our nature, who we are.
Perhaps this is what Peter is saying too. He tells his readers all we need to be godly people is given to us in Christ. Because of that, I can grow from simple faith to greater virtue, increased knowledge, more self-control and so on until all of these qualities are mine and even increasing:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:5–9)

Peter says that this growth insures that I am an effective Christian who remembers what Christ has done for me. Chambers says this increase needs to become such a part of my life that I don’t think about it or work on it; it just happens.

Chambers adds that if I become introspective, it is because I’m not there yet. A child does not stop and think that he is not being like a child. God is looking for that kind of simplicity, a life without effort, not making habits a governing force in my life, but relating to God in such a way that my life is simply at home with Him no matter what is happening.

I’ve know few people who are like this. Sadly, at least one of them has been ridiculed for his life of simple trust, of not worrying about anything, and of being spontaneous like a child. How sad. The life of Christ shines through his transparency and every time I talk with him it seems as if I am talking with Jesus.

Why do we try so hard to be godly and miss the simplicity of it? Maybe because that childlike attitude is dismissed by the ‘spiritual’ people — something like the disciples trying to send the children away until Jesus told them, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

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