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Developing a faith that is both childlike and mature

May 4, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-- mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)

In the Christian faith, there are many seemingly contradictory things that must be held in tension. God is three yet one. Jesus is fully man yet fully God. The Bible is God’s Word yet written by humans. When it comes to our walk with God, there is another important tension we must hold: our God is so approachable and accessible that even a four-year-old can have a genuine saving relationship with Him, yet He is so far beyond our human comprehension that even the wisest theologian or holiest person of God can never come close to plumbing the depths of who He is. As Paul put it in Romans 11:33-34, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

I have been considering this tension lately when it comes to my prayer life. As we have read through the Psalms this past month in our Bible Recap D groups, one of the striking features is how God allows us to approach Him with whatever emotions, questions, or concerns we may have. We can come to Him like a child to a loving Father, knowing that He hears us and does not judge us. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). We can connect with our God during a 5-minute car ride, or as we pause in prayer before eating a meal, and He will receive us with love.

On the other hand, however, we are not meant to stay at a 4-year-old’s level of faith or prayer. When a child offers a crayon drawing to their mother, or asks for candy for dinner, it is an age-appropriate and at time adorable expression of faith and love. But if a 40-year-old man did the same, a few eyebrows might get raised. The point is that God is forever calling us to deeper experiences of faith, prayer, and intimacy with Him. Yes, He will always receive my quick prayer offered to Him on the way to work. But He also longs for me to spend extended time in solitude with Him, to carve out the time to read His Word, meditate on His will for me, and share my heart with Him without interruption or deadline.

As you walk with the Lord, I encourage you to not lose either half of this tension. Do not despise your childlike faith, the moments when you turn in trust to the God who loves you with a perfect love. But do not stay there either. Accept His invitation to dive deeper into “the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33). Carve out extended time to seek out the wonders of your great God, and I believe that you will discover a glory that surpasses your understanding.

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