Monday, October 01, 2007

Not Always A Good Thing

I've been an adult for a long time now... if you count age 18 as adulthood, I've been working on this particular phase of my life for 25 years. Most of the time, I do a halfway decent job at playing my role - responsible, thoughtful, even-tempered, etc. Oh, yeah, the childish part of me pokes through in particular moments - usually having to do with me sulking about not getting my way (not a pretty picture) - but for the most part, I'm solidly adult in my thinking.

And what if that's not always a good thing?

You see, there's a different between childlike & childish... we've all dealt with so-called adults who needed to be put in time-out for their behavior. Chances are pretty good you've got one or two co-workers (warning: it might be you) who would get an unsmiley face on their report card for "plays well with others." That's what I'm referring to as "childish."

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

On the other hand, there is another quality of childhood that we ought to crave... that ability to experience the world with wonder & joy. They aren't afraid to express their delight at a butterfly or their success with a difficult task or the return of a beloved parent.

You see glimpses of this in the lives of adults - for me, it's the feeling I get when walking down Disneyland's Main Street toward Sleeping Beauty's Castle... or when we drive through the Wawona Tunnel into Yosemite Valley and you can hear the thundering of the waterfalls as the valley comes sharply into focus. It's the delight I have at watching my two boys play & enjoy & use their imagination... and, every once in a while, it's the way I am overwhelmed by the presence of God in the midst of a worship service.

Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. " I assure you," He said, "unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child-this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4 (HCSB)

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that we chuck our responsibilities & all head down to Washington Colony School to play on the monkey bars & spray "cootie spray" on the opposite sex. But we are in danger (more than we'd like to admit) of viewing the world God created through eyes & hearts deadened by the perceived weight of our burdens.

Ask Jesus today to renew a childlike spirit in your heart - a readiness to experience & enjoy all the goodness of His creation & His grace. Ask Him for the ability to drink in the wonder of His love... like a child.

This article originally appeared in the September 30, 2007 issue of The Grapevine, the newsletter of NewLife Community Church.

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