“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God… See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
A couple of weeks ago I got to go to Florida with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew. It was one of the best vacations I’ve had! One of my favorite parts of the week was waking up to my 3 month year old nephew Lucas each morning. Most mornings I tried to get up with Lucas so that my sister could sleep in more. She has to do it every other morning but for me it is still a novelty! After Lucas was fed and changed in the morning, he was so happy. We played for a while, he giggled and squealed, and those mornings were so precious! I love him so much!
Sometimes the longing to be a wife and mother is so strong, but God has been so good to bring so many babies into my life now that I can love.
As much as I love Lucas, I can’t even imagine the love that comes from a parent-child bond. I loved watching Janette and Mike interact with Lucas. I love how attentive and gentle they are with him, and how much they just delight in and enjoy him.
One morning I read Matthew 18:1-14 and it completely came alive to me in a new way as I had Lucas in mind . It goes like this:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
What quality best describes Lucas right now? He is desperate. He is totally dependent for everything. If nobody dressed, fed, and changed him he would die. At this point Lucas can’t even sit up by himself. Lucas hasn’t done anything to make Janette and Mike love him so much because he can’t do anything to earn their love. It is the same with us and God. We are dead in our sin with no power or desire to come to God. We can’t do anything to earn the love of a majestic, holy and perfect, Lord of all God. We just need to come to God with a simple yet implicit faith. We just need to need him!
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin. For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
I know these verses seem very harsh! But, what does sin bring? Death! If anyone ever tried to do anything to Lucas, I know Janette and Mike would do anything and everything to try to protect him! In the same way, God sees the full picture of how sin brings so much destruction and death to the people He created, and any strategy to get rid of sin and the causes of it is not too much.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Have you ever thought about the sheer number of people in the past, the present and the future that have or will put their faith in Jesus? Despite that though when one of His Children goes astray, He still pursues them. There are also angels in heaven who minister to us when we are weak. That should bring such a comfort to our souls!
It has been a beautiful realization to come to understand more and more how desperate I am for God. It is painful to admit that how often I want to go my own way and go astray. How often I need God to convict me of sin and to remind me of His truth. It’s life-giving too though! The more I know how much I really do need Him, the more I can see how much my Father loves me, fights for me, chases after me, and simply delights in me.
A child never outgrows his dependence on his parent, even as he grows and becomes stronger. When he is no longer dependent, he ceases to be a child. As those who have put our faith in Christ, may we always come before him with the dependence and humility of a child. Love and enjoy the children God places in your life, and while you do, bask in the glory that it is only a fraction of how the Father loves and delights in you as His child!
“It is not necessarily the one who knows the most theology, the one who wins the most souls, or the bravest martyr who is the greatest in the kingdom. It is the one who is most like a child.” –R.C. Sproul