What is childlike faith? You have asked a great question! Let’s dive in and talk about it!
Childlike Faith Scripture
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant…. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
What did Jesus Mean?
People get confused by Jesus’ statement about children and the Kingdom because our culture is different than the culture Jesus lived in two thousand years ago in Palestine.
- Often Christian teachers say Jesus meant that children trust what their teachers and parents tell them. But then add it’s not an unthinking faith because of the teacher’s authority.
- Other teachers say it means to just take God at His word.
I’d like to suggest a different take on this. Context is crucial in determining what Jesus meant. In Mark, every story before and after Jesus’ example receiving the Kingdom like a child has a common theme: Humility or its contrast with pride.
- Mark 9:14-29–Jesus’ nine disciples can’t cast out a demon because they thought they could do it in their own power.
- Mark 9:30-32–Jesus again predicts He’s going to Jerusalem to die.
- Mark 9:33-34–Jesus catches the disciples discussing who is the greatest.
- Mark 9:35–37–Jesus uses a child to teach that Kingdom greatness comes by serving all.
- Mark 9:38-41–Jesus told the disciples they aren’t the only ones who can do miracles in His Name.
- Mark 9:42-50–Jesus warns against causing any of the little ones who believe to stumble.
- Mark 10:1-12–Jesus warns against divorce. A divorced woman in that society had low social status.
- Mark 10:13-16–Jesus says we must receive the Kingdom of God like a child.
- Mark 10:17-27–Jesus asks the Rich Young Ruler to sell all his possessions and follow Jesus, but he couldn’t humble himself, so he walked away.
- Mark 10:28-31–Jesus promises future rewards for those who give up possessions now and follow Him.
- Mark 10:32-45–Jesus again predicts His death and His mission to serve while the disciples ask for the best seats in the Kingdom.
- Mark 10:46-52–Jesus heals Bartimaeus of blindness, and Bartimaeus leaves his cloak (everything) behind to follow Jesus.
Unlike our society, children had no social status. So, they brought nothing to the table. The line in the song Just as I am without one plea captures the idea. We can add nothing to our salvation, and our earthly possessions can easily keep us from following Jesus.
How Can I Have the Faith of a Child?
Faith like a child, is being the last and servant of all. It involves the humility that comes from low social status. We need faith to give up the life we live now–or could live now–to serve Jesus in advancing the Kingdom of God. Pride is the common enemy that keeps us from picking up our cross and following Jesus. How
Don’t be like the Rich Young Ruler who walked away from discipleship because he had many possessions:
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?Mark 8:36