RECONNECT THE UMBILICAL CORD
Jesus loved little children. What was it about them that delighted Him? He even used a little child as an example of greatness.
At that time His disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 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.” (Matt. 18:1-3)
Imagine the disciples’ surprise when Jesus equated little children with greatness. They were the lowest in the pecking order of Jewish society. When mothers came to Jesus to bless their children, the disciples shooed them away in irritation. Didn’t these mothers know that He had better and more important things to do than lay hands on their kids?
What do we see when we look into the face of a new-born child? What is hidden in that fragile life? Little children have many common characteristics, some good and some bad. Bible commentators have made many suggestions about the meaning of Jesus’ words. Why should those who aspire to becoming part of the kingdom of God become like little children? What is it about them that resembles what pleases the Father?
Some have suggested humility. How truly humble is a child? Curious, inquisitive, gullible, trusting, even dishonest or devious perhaps but not humble. Just the opposite, I think. Little kids constantly draw attention to themselves. They demand to be noticed, applauded for their efforts, acknowledged and praised especially by their parents and people significant to them.
Among their many qualities is one which is characteristic of every child and which I believe is essential to every child of God – helplessness. Every new-born is utterly helpless and dependent upon its parents for care and protection. A parent’s task is to train his/her offspring for independence.
It takes many years to teach a child to stand on his own feet. How delighted dad and mom are when their little darling reaches each milestone along the way. The first smile, learning to sit, to crawl, to walk, to feed himself, the first day at school, graduation day – these are all major achievements along the road to independence. When at last the day arrives when their fledgling leaves home, the tears flow once again. Their son or daughter has finally reached the goal but, in spite of all their efforts it is very hard to let them go.
God has a very different goal for His children. Adam declared independence at the beginning and every child is born with his nature. He may need parental nurture, care and training to become an independent adult, but he thinks he does not need God. It takes a lifetime for God to train His children to recognise their dependence on Him for every aspect of their lives.
God created the first man and the first woman to be one with Himself, living in harmony with each member of the Trinity in loving submission just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit interact with one another in perfect unity. Each loves and is submitted to the other in a union so close that, although they are three, they are one. Even as a human being who was born into the human race and became one of us, Jesus insisted that He and the Father were one.
Adam and Eve forfeited the privilege of enjoying this union which God intended to share with His human children when they chose to believe the devil’s lie over His word. They declared independence from God and we live with the result.
Learning to trust God and to obey His word is an uphill battle for us. We are naturally suspicious of Him. Those who don’t know Him, hate Him and are afraid of Him because they instinctively know that they are accountable to Him for their sin. They prefer to deny His existence or ignore Him completely rather than acknowledge that they have defied Him and are guilty of rebellion.
God has a lifelong task of teaching us to trust Him and to rely on Him for the grace to live in Him and through Him. Being followers of Jesus is much more than copying Him and trying to do what He did. Jesus lived by His absolute trust in the Holy Spirit and in the Father’s love.
Our new life begins when we realise that we are helpless without Him. Trying to be acceptable to God by obeying rules will not cut it. The Apostle Paul hit the nail on the head.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2: 20).
Unlike the maturing process our children go through to reach responsible adulthood, in God’s kingdom, the opposite must happen. The more we trust in and depend on the Holy Spirit to live the life of Jesus in us, the more mature we will become as God’s sons and daughters.
What is the bottom line?
There is no fear on love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 Joh. 4:18).
The more we become convinced of the perfect love of God, the more we will trust Him and depend on Him for everything in life. The maturing process for the child of God is not becoming independent but learning to be as helpless as a little child, leaning on and living in the perfect love of the Father. We need to reconnect our spiritual “umbilical cord”, relying on the Holy Spirit in us to be the “cord” through which we receive the life of God.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:17b-18).
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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