While the Bible doesn't specifically tell you to “have faith like a child,” it does reference several instances where Jesus encourages his followers to be more childlike.
What does that mean? In my experience as a Born Again Christian and mom of two young Christians, I believe we may have more to learn from our children than our mothers told us and what society implies.
Following your child's example in your faith doesn't mean behaving ignorantly, uneducated, or stubbornly. To follow your child's example, train your mind to move through past traumas, unmet expectations, unanswered prayers, and jaded judgments. Instead, embrace a softer heart and a simpler, more Biblical perspective, just as our children show us daily.
Confidently Have Unshakable Faith, Like a Child
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.Hebrews 1:11, NIV
I'll never forget a conversation with my 8-year-old while we traveled halfway across the country by car. He asked why some people don't believe in God and why many who do sometimes question their faith. The only way I could explain is that sometimes seeing His creations and involvement is complex when you're enduring difficult times and focused on everything that isn't measuring up to your own predetermined expectations.
My sweet boy started crying, looking out the window, and shouting, “how can they deny God is real? Just look around. He created everything. Without God, we would not see all these trees, the grass, the flowers, and the animals. Without God, we wouldn't be here. He created us to be like Him with the ability to create things like cars, roads, powerlines, houses, and everything else we use. There would be nothing here without Him. That is all anyone should need to realize God is real. Who else could have designed all this.”
“… faith is… assurance about what we do not see.” I realized my kid gets it.
As adults, we end up consumed by our circumstances. We often use emotions based on past trauma, experiences, failures, and disappointments to justify current assumptions. While we know God is always with us, we don't always acknowledge the unnoticed evidence around us.
The AC went out simultaneously with the oven, immediately following a catastrophic failure in the water heater, causing mold to infiltrate the walls and bug issues. Where is God? He is everywhere, just waiting for you to seek Him.
It's humbling to realize that you were never meant to live this life on your own. God purposefully provides us with the tools we need to lean into faith, give and receive support within our communities, and develop a deeper connection with Him. Life is hard, and while we try to make sense of everything the best we can, we don't always see the bigger picture outside our day-to-day happenings.
The Power That Comes With Having Faith Like a Child
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”Matthew 17:20
When the Bible talks about being childlike, it does not insinuate that we should act uneducated or be ignorant of everything happening around us.
Having faith like a child means we should be confident in the promises of Jesus and maintain having faith, even in confusing or complex situations.
At that time the 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. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.Matthew 18:1-5, NIV
But what does that mean? To become like little children?
Moving Mountains & Quelling Storms… Through Childlike Faith
Later, on the same 3-day cross-country trip mentioned earlier, my husband received a weather notification telling us approximately 30 minutes ahead of us, there was a major thunderstorm with flash flood and tornado warnings. He pulled our RV 5th wheel behind him while I had the kids and dogs in my car. We pulled over at an abandoned gas station parking lot to make a plan while looking at the map and the storm's trajectory. We decided to continue forward when we realized there was no driving around or waiting out the storm.
As we pulled back onto the Interstate, I heard my 8-year-old asking me whether I was nervous. I admitted I was unsure of what to expect, especially with the camper in tow. He stoically proclaimed, “I'm not scared. God's got this. I know we will be fine. He always provides.” My 4-year-old chimed in, saying, “if there was no God, I would be scared. But I'm not scared because I know God is real.”
I smiled, admiring their level of faith. Still nervous. I've been caught in tornado storms before and wasn't thrilled about driving into one with kids, dogs, and a large camper with us. 45 minutes passed by, and we didn't even see rain. I called my husband, asking him if his truck had any other weather updates. He was baffled, saying the storm was gone. It didn't even register on his truck's weather app anymore. It had completely vanished off the radar as if it had never been there, to begin with.
I don't remember feeling so instantly amazed and relieved.
Meanwhile, both kids were behind me, full of smiles. They knew God would continue to provide, and He sure did. Another 30 minutes of driving passed to show us a whole horizon-to-horizon rainbow. I'm not much of one to believe in coincidences, but I couldn't help but smile, feeling relieved, with a tear in my eye. Suddenly, everything around me quieted, with the phrase “faith like a child” ringing in my ears. At that point, I knew. My children were teaching me one of the most valuable lessons an adult can learn: how to have faith like a child.
Be More Childlike
What better way to gain the perspective of a child and the child's faith than to teach your children about God and Jesus and allow them to show you what it means to return your level of faith back to that same childlike perspective? It proves that as an adult, you can learn just as many (if not more) valuable life lessons from your children than the life lessons you teach your children.
- Be curious like a child: don't be afraid to ask questions
- Love like a child: truly love unconditionally
- Forgive like a child: push past your pain and truly forgive others
- Play like a child: dance, run, jump, climb, imagine
- Create like a child: have fun making things or using your imagination to create something new
- Explore like a child: whether it's exploring new places or deepening your knowledge of places you've already seen.
- Laugh like a child: often and unapologetic! Don't be afraid to be silly!
- See the wonder in and appreciate God's creations throughout nature
- Hope like a child: remain hopeful and excited, even when past experiences suggest hope isn't enough
- Live like a child: be meaningful and purposeful with everything you do in a heartfelt manner
- Have faith, like a child: knowing God will never leave you, even if you struggle to see he is still there waiting for you to acknowledge Him
- Allow yourself to see God's miracles and miraculous creations, like a child
Choose To Have Childlike Faith
Choosing to have childlike faith means you fill yourself with unshakable hope that one day you'll be with God in Heaven for all eternity. As a Christian, there's no doubt that you have unsinkable hope in believing Jesus was born, died, and rose again… and that if you fully trust him, you'll resurrect, much like he. It is easy to have childlike faith when thinking about eternal salvation. However, living day-to-day with childlike faith is a much different story. Placing your complete trust in God is much more difficult through the more mundane day-to-day living.
Being the child of God allows you to live under His constant provision and leadership. Much like what you want for your children, God wants to see you live an abundant life filled with joy, laughter, peace, purpose, friends, and unconditional love. Living abundantly is much easier to think about than to apply in your everyday life. Often life gets in the way, and you end up not accepting or appreciating all God made available, whether by impatience, fear, wrong teaching, or past experiences. And more often will find ourselves feeling a lack of His comfort, not always realizing that God will always continue to shepherd us through His perfect plans.
Do you feel God calling you to a more significant lifestyle of holding childlike faith? He calls you to trust in Him alone to soothe your finances, relationships, future, past, and present.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.Hebrews 11:6
Trust God, Knowing He Always Provides
TRUST. Know God has you and your circumstances covered. He always provides. When you feel he doesn't, know it is for a reason. Perhaps, like Job, your faith is tested. Or maybe He needs you to learn or experience something so you can bless someone else in the future with knowledge and wisdom that can only come from experience. Or, like me, maybe you need to readjust the priorities and trajectory in your life so your future may result in a closer relationship with Him.
… but in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”1 Peter 3:15
Creating an Action Plan: How To Grow Into Having Faith Like a Child
Take some time to meditate or journal about what your faith means to you. What does it mean to have childlike faith? How would you feel if you genuinely had faith like a child?
Ask yourself: where do you struggle with trusting God?
What area of your life is not producing the fruit of his goodness, reality, and love for you? Where are you feeling stressed, living in your own strength?
“One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”Proverbs 29:23 (ESV)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
Confess your need for God's help, and ask Him to assist with increasing your faith.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.1 Peter 5:6 (ESV)
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.Colossians 3:12 (ESV)