Heart of a Child
For years as part of Cru and Athletes in Action, Cory Keehn has sat down with young believers to discuss faith. During many of his conversations, he has seen college students struggle with a need to have all the answers when it comes to following Christ. What Cory has come to realize is that whether you're a new believer or have followed Christ for years, answers don't necessarily equal trust. You need the heart of a child.
By Cory Keehn, theHeart
Christ wants children, not theologians. That's because the simplicity of trusting Jesus is not about coming up with the “right” answers or beliefs.
We read accounts in the Bible of people bringing children to Jesus, hoping he might heal and even transform them. And yet Christ's own disciples shooed them off. Jesus was irate and he let them know it.
Jesus got angry at his students because they thought children weren’t worth his time. In that day and Jewish culture, the hierarchy was structured something like this from top to bottom: religious teachers, men, women, children, non-Jewish people. Jesus—a rabbi, a religious leader, an important man in society—took the time to hold and bless kids.
The people who watched this scenario play out would have been shocked. Not only did Jesus publicly and forcefully correct his students, but he also spent time with kids who were viewed as some of the least important people in that society.
Jesus didn’t stop there. He took it further and said, “if you don’t accept God’s kingdom with the simplicity of a child you'll never get in.” (The Message)
I don’t know what God’s kingdom is. Is it the here and now? The afterlife? Is it both? That's an argument for theologians. A kid wouldn’t even be discussing these questions. He or she simply wants to see and be with Jesus. That's not to disregard the study of God, but instead, it's a reminder that we need to prioritize a transformative relationship through Christ above the cold academics of religion alone.
"How Would a Child Believe This?"
Yet, here we are—thousands of years later—still bickering and judging each other as we discuss the nuances of scripture. Did God choose us or did we choose him? Is the Bible infallible or inerrant? Is your spirit saved through baptism or by saying a prayer of belief?
Dear God! What are we doing? Why do we fight with each other? A child is not asking these questions. A child sometimes can’t even read. And if they do it is poorly!
So, does this mean we should throw out the Bible completely? No, of course not. But what if we read, learn, and teach its everlasting truths differently? What if we looked at it through the eyes of a child?
Then we could read God's Word with this heart posture: “how would a child believe this?”
Children say what is on their mind. Children ask questions. Children trust safe people. Children embrace adventure. Children are filled with awe. Children have vivid imaginations. And that is the kind of relationship our Heavenly Father invites us to experience.
Enjoy the Mystery of God
What if our relationship with the Jesus of our understanding (often our misunderstanding) is more focused on asking hard questions and accepting we may not get a satisfying answer?
How freeing would it be to simply enjoy the mystery of God rather than try and pin down exactly what the text means?
Wouldn’t it be great if we spent more time pursuing and experiencing the unlimited fullness of God’s character instead of arguing theology and scouring scripture to satisfy our limited views of God?
I for one am done fighting. I’m done bickering over every statement in scripture. I have my own thoughts and beliefs about the text. I may even share my perspective. I’m ok with being wrong. I’m ok with not having answers that satisfy my selfish desire to understand everything about God.
But the moment I believe I have the “right” answers is the moment I quit trusting Jesus like a child. Being a child doesn’t mean blindly accepting. What it means is that I feel safe to learn. The Jesus of my understanding cares more about me being a child than a renowned theologian.
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