Links Daily Devotional

Healthy Children

“I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, NCV)

Having learned to be a golfer as an adult, I am always amazed at the ease and grace with which little kids play the game. They have fun and don’t obsess about how they swing the club. They are as joyful over a one-foot putt going in as they are about the longest drive they have ever hit. The score doesn’t much matter to most of them, if they bother to count it at all. Little children innately know that they can’t control the outcome of their swing—they just laugh and go find the ball and hit it again.

Biblically speaking, this is the kind of life we are to live. We are called to a life of joy and freedom that can only be lived with a childlike faith.

It is not a mistake that Jesus said we needed to become like little children or we couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven. Being pleasing to God—and taking pleasure in him—is rooted in childlike faith. We believe and then we see. In the same way a child trusts the golf club to hit the ball, we need to trust that God is who he says he is and that he is in charge of our lives.

God calls us to receive what he has freely provided us. His grace can never be earned—only received by faith. We cannot add one thing to the freely given gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection. When we receive him, he comes to live in us as the Holy Spirit. All the work and change that comes after our salvation are the direct outcome of the power of God in us. We cannot do it on our own. We can try to be good and earn our way back to God, but we will fail. Our efforts will never be enough; we will fall and fail and the only remotely joyful moments in our lives will be dependent on our external circumstances.

We must in childlike faith trust God to live through us and empower us to live the life he is pleased with.

When we trust in Jesus we can begin to live with the freedom of a child—not hindered by our own failed expectations and efforts. Learning to listen to his voice takes a lifetime, but the journey is worth it because when we let him control our life with his power we will accomplish all that he intends for us to do and we will become what he envisioned us to be.

In a healthy family, children are led by righteous parents. The children learn to trust their leadership, and their characters are formed by their parents’ influence. If we let God lead us as formative children, with complete trust in him as our Abba (Daddy) Father, we will experience the joy and peace we have so desperately sought with our own efforts but cannot not find there. We can hit life’s “ball” with abandon and laugh and go find it, because the outcome is in his hands.

Linda Ballard
June 12, 2014
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