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“Childlike Faith”…or a Childish One?



“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10


What does it mean to “be still?”


It means, “Stop talking.”

"Suspend anxious overthinking.”

“Get off the treadmill of directing your life and just be.”


I love the NASB of Psalm 46:10. It says, “Cease your striving and know that I am God.” God is continually speaking. The first thing God did when He created humanity was speak! On the Bible’s final page, He shouts, “I am coming soon!” Jesus said His sheep hear His voice as He continually leads us (John 10.) Goodness gracious, He came as the “Word,” the message from God to man.


I have such passion to equip sons and daughters to walk in confidence in their ability to discern God’s voice and develop rhythms to be still. That said, there is something more foundational than any kind of training. It’s a surrendered temperament. When asked about greatness, Jesus said we must become like children. Right now, we are either growing up in childlike faith or acting out in childish faith.


Childish faith is identified 3 ways:


Childish faith sees everything through the lens of scarcity, believing “there is only so much to go around.” It finds security by knowing it is “in” and defining who is “out.”


Childish faith expects conformity. You have to join their club their way to experience their benefits. Once you do, there is immense pressure to only listen to those already on the inside; otherwise, you’re on a slippery slope. The mantra of childish faith is “keep your head down and stay with the pack; it’s scary out there.”


Childish faith demands certainty. You have to have all of the answers and there is no room for doubt or wrestling through difficult topics. You have to be right…and you have to make sure they are right, too! If someone asks the wrong question, their motives or allegiance will be questioned. By demanding uniformity, they never experience true unity.


Childish faith leans on its own perspective, authority, and emotions, as it can only grow in rooms where we allow our own voice to be loudest.


But what if our obsession to understand everything is actually an idol? A form of control driven by fear? A sign we’re still immature? Please hear me. If we will only trust the God we can tame, His mystery will become our misery, because our security will reside in our certainty. This is trading “faith in the Father” with “faith in our faith.” It makes for crippling religion, because it is rooted in fear. And it amounts to nothing more than a fear-based fraternity worshiping a tiny God.


Childlike faith, on the other hand, believes our God has chosen to paint His glory everywhere. It’s like a kid at Disney World for the first time: head up, eyes wide, eager to take it all in. It is totally comfortable not having all the answers.


Consider a kid at Disney. They didn’t plan the trip. They didn’t save for months to afford it. They didn’t navigate the route on I-4 to miss the brunt of traffic. They don’t feel any need to consult the imagineers before every ride to confirm safety ratings. And they have no clue if that $14 soft pretzel fits in the meal budget. And you know what? They’re not worried! They just grab their dad’s hand and run, grateful to be alive on this playground of discovery.


Childlike faith is opening our eyes to the wonder of seeing God everywhere and wherever He shows us a new dimension, letting Him EXPAND our view. In this, our capacity increases and we grow up into His image. This kind of faith is okay with God’s revelation being a run on sentence that at times seems like a contradiction:


God is grace, and yet He is truth.

God is endless mercy, and yet He is perfect justice.

God is higher than the heavens, and yet is closer than our breath.

God is a mystery, and yet is completely knowable.

God is good, and yet He sometimes leads us through valleys of the shadow of death that don’t feel good.


And following Him means choosing to believe that “goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever,” one day rejoicing that death was nothing more than a shadow. Here’s the BEST part. I don’t need to understand or explain how any of that fits together. It just is.


A temperament to listen is re-engaging creation as a child. It's running to take it all in while firmly holding onto His hand. It is a vulnerability that knows it is safe to ask any question. It is patience to stay in His refiner’s fire without fear, because He’s working all things for good. It is the ability to hear new perspectives, widen your lens, and let go of your need to evaluate and correct everything. And in that place, it is letting His Spirit and Word draw near to show you wonders you’ve yet to see.


God is ALWAYS speaking. We need only listen.


Adapted from En(d)titlement, © 2023 by Chuck Ammons. Available on www.amazon.com


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