Friday, January 06, 2006

# 118: The Need For Childlike Faith

What is so special about the faith of little children? They believe, without the least bit of doubt, whatever their mothers and fathers tell them. Could we also believe our heavenly father without the least bit of doubt? Yes. Do we? No. Why? That is the question I will attempt to answer. “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17. “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3. Those verses and more are extremely descriptive concerning the quality of the Christian faith/belief. The one ingredient that renders the lives of SINCERE Christians as powerless is when faith is mingled with doubt. Doubt not only makes faith powerless, but completely destroys spiritual life, usually without the individual’s awareness. This type of mingled faith, which exists throughout organized Christianity, has become the status quo. How did we get in such sad shape? Most likely from two sources: the pressure the world puts on us to conform/trappings of society, and the mediocrity that has been preached in America, since who knows when, from behind 300,000 Christian pulpits.

Several other required attributes are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The way this is done is to obey God's commands. The apostle John says in 1st John 5:3, "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome ..." How many of us Christians are actively striving for that type of love? I mean above and beyond what we declare with our mouths. And almost as poignant, although much more trying/annoying, is to love your neighbors as yourselves. Jesus said, “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28. Well, excuse me, Jesus; where is grace? Two questions: Do you doubt it is necessary to obey the above commands? Who has enough childlike faith to actually obey these two commands? Answer: It is the grace that God gives to authentic Christians which enables them to love in that manner. To adhere to the above two commands is, most likely, the most unnatural lifestyle/commands for potential Christians to desire. BUT, if we have childlike faith, we will ignore our natural tendencies and live as commanded.

Several other qualities essential for all Christians are found in Matthew 10:16. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” The word “wise” is used instead of “shrewd” in several other Bibles, and the word “harmless” is used in place of “innocent.” They essentially say the same thing. How wise and innocent are we in our Christian conduct to the degree that we actively obey, without reservation, the above commands?

Here is the answer: Christ is the only way to obedience. In essence, He said, I obeyed my Father with child-like faith, and the only way anyone can obey is by following my instructions to the letter, with their lives. In short, He is our only and perfect example. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1st John 2:6. No ifs, ands, or buts. Let us never forget, the New Testament is the road map to obedience. If we don’t follow the COMPLETE map with child-like faith, we will never get to our eternal destiny.

The above four paragraphs are the heart and soul of the Christian life, and in essence the remainder of Bible is trivial, although always solidly resting on the above. And still, I could easily understand why people conform to worldly standards; and I can also understand why the clergy preaches a diluted message. Some preachers may do so inadvertently, while others purposely dilute their messages of any teaching that would make the laity feel uncomfortable. The reason is that they want them and their 10% back next week. This website is dedicated to making these undeniable standards and shortcomings known. In short, organized religion has, in large part, become a worldly, financial business instead of an institution that should be known as always having necessary spiritual substance. ‘“The apostles said to the lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ He replied, ‘If you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.’” There are a number of verses that invoke the supernatural which have been deemed out of charter as part of the realm of ordinary Christians. I am not sure that is where the problem starts, but diluting or ignoring such verses has had catastrophic consequences. All machinery, etc. can only function correctly when all parts are working in a synchronized manner. Remove just one vital part and it can’t work as required. That is called irreducible complexity. That principle also applies to any complex biological, spiritual, etc. entities. This reduction is just one reason for the doubt that exists in Christianity as a whole.

This is what complicates the problem: To compensate for a weak faith as a result of doubt in what God through Jesus Christ said in the New Testament, some believe that many Biblical principles do not apply to our modern times, thus attempting to make much of the New Testament fit into America’s ungodly culture. This is what I mean: Since we have made great advances in medicine with all the sophisticated technology and associated sciences, some deceivers and others that have been deceived believe that God does not have a need to perform miracles through His chosen, as in Jesus’ time. It has been said that the following verse is not necessary or applicable in today’s life; that is a blatant lie. Listen to what Jesus said: “. . . or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even GREATER THINGS than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:11-12. [emphasis added]. I emphatically say that if the above verse (and others like it) can’t be trusted as applying to modern Christians, then the complete New Testament cannot be trusted.

There are at least two reasons why Jesus Christ performed many miracles: because of His uncompromising compassion and empathy for hurting humanity, and to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He was sent from God Almighty as the promised Messiah. That is the exact reason authentic miracles are needed in the present time: to prove that Christians are what they claim to be. Of course, there will be fraudulent Christians also doing miracles. We can tell which ones are really of God by comparing their lives to all that the Bible requires of His people. In second Thessalonians 2:9-12, the apostle Paul makes this deceit very clear. “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. For that reason God sent them a powerful delusion so they will believe the lie.” Additionally, Jesus emphatically warned in Matthew 24:24-25: “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” Repeating, therefore we must not equate all great miracles with God, but first check the life/lives of the one/ones performing the miracles. Therefore, those who make little or nothing of some Bible verses, by doubting they really mean what they say, will lead many to perish. Christianity is not for the faint-hearted.

With that said, we have to admit that the reason much of the New Testament is not materializing in the modern Christian church is because of our doubt as to what God can do through ordinary Christians like ourselves. Knowing these facts of Scripture, the question remains: How can we, who are aware of our inadequacies, remove doubt from our lives? It is easier said than done: For people who have been involved in organized religion most/all their lives, it would be next to impossible. If church-going Christians, who make going to church the biggest event of the week, were required to obey and live by all the verses they have neglected, it would mean a complete life change. Who is able, and who even desires to do that? They are between a rock and a hard place. Most likely, they will not be able to acquire that childlike faith. I feel heartbroken to realize that the above statements are true, and the devil—whom I hate with a passion—has the upper hand in many of our lives. In summary, it could be a devastating situation many church people are in.

It would be much easier for an outsider to believe and live as the Bible directs, without many preconceived ideas as to what the Christian life really consists of, than for a good church-going person. Since contemplating the aforementioned message, it strikes me that one of the evil one’s main tools to get “Christians” to worship him is a little word by the name of “doubt.”


JC said...

David, you are truly blessed by God to be aware of what you said in your comment. I pray that God will continue to bless you with His best. As for your son, He is also a blessing for his spiritual curiosity. When my daughter was either 4 or 5, as we were leaving some type of spiritual service, I asked her where God came from. Without a moments delay, she responed, "He made Himself." That is as down-to-arth as being eternal as one can get. I wish you the best in your continual search, as to what God will have you and your son, do and be.


Jay said...

Hi Al

I was troubled with two little comments in this post. #1)“ the only way anyone can obey is by following my instructions to the letter, with their lives.” If this was true I am afraid the only people in heaven would be God and his angels. The bible says only one man was without sin and that was Jesus. And yes His sacrifice dose not give license for us to sin, after we are born again. The scripture points this out to us. When you say we must follow His instructions to the letter exactly, your embellishment might throw some people off the narrow road. We have to trust Christ and search His word ,our godliness can only come from his divine power thorough the knowledge of Him. 2 Peter:3. #2) “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1st John 2:6. No ifs, ands or buts.” This line gives me the impression that we must live a sinless live after we accept Christ. Yes we must try but we are going to fail sometime. What really is great , as soon as we do fall short the Holy Spirit lets us know immediately. If we repent our Lord lets us start over, Praise God. It is not so with people that don’t walk with the Lord. What I think that scripture is telling us is to walk in love like Christ did. I know it was just a little statement out of a large post and I am sure you feel the same way on this point as I do, or maybe not. It just jumped out at me. Gods Blessings Jay

JC said...

Jay, thanks for your comment. I agree with your comment except this one: “Yes, we must try but we are going to fail.” I will let you decide if that statement is Biblical or it is something that religion made-up. Here are several verses that say the contrary. 1st John 2:1, “I write this to you so that you will not sin.” 1st John 3:6, “No one who walks in Him keeps on sinning.” 1st John 3:9, “No one born of God will continue to sin.” 1st John 5:18, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin. Jay, we have a choice: listen to religion or obey the New Testament. That is one of the main reasons I started this blog-site. To openly display what the Bible commands, and to contrast it with organized religion. Thank again for your comments.

Jay said...

Al. I think it is biblical. I didn’t get this idea from organized religion. I have found this out from my own walk with the Lord that started in 1985. Trust me I have sin against God in these twenty so years. If there is anyone on this blog that has not fallen short as I have, please let me know. The sin that John is talking about in 1John 2 is the one that people keep on committing. They justify in there minds that they are not really sinning to the point that they believe it themselves. The first verse in 1 John 2 says, This is the whole verse “ My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” The but if , tells me that maybe John did not see everyone living a sinless life after they excepted the Lord, he was talking to believers in this letter. Or maybe he too sinned after Christ left. You are right in the paragraphs before this one about walking in faith with love as Jesus did. Yes we can do this but only with Gods power and I thank Him for it. Jay

JC said...

Jay, thanks for your excellent response. In 1st John 2:1, the word that stands out is the word (IF), “But (If) anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” There is a world of difference between ‘if’ and ‘when.’ I agree there are no perfect Christians; but at the same time, we are living in a realm of perfection. (The body of Jesus Christ). On conversion we were given Christ’s status of perfection. Now if that isn’t an overpowering motive to live free of sin, I don’t know what is. We are continually striving to be more perfect ever day, with no end in sight. With an active incentive to live sinless lives, we are obeying and putting into practice those verses in 1st John. If we didn’t have such a wonderful Savior as Jesus Christ who continually will forgive our inadvertent sins, Christianity would not be the perfect way to God. But when it comes to premeditated sins, that is a horse of a different color. Persistent premeditated sins are a good indication that Salvation does not exist. Let me leave you with this wonderful truth: We should have a continual belief that we will never sin again, with no excuses. This should be on the tip of our mind at all times. There is no reason why all Christians can’t have this Godly state of mind. If anyone knew the power of sin and its ability to thrive and propagate itself on past sins, I know for certain ever genuine Christian would hopefully never desire to sin again. The fruit of the devil is sin. Sin is God’s greatest enemy, and we should never entertain a desire to grieve our Lord. Anyone who takes sin lightly, is of the devil, regardless what they may call themselves, or who they believe they belong to. Amen.

Jay, thanks for your sincere comment, and I hope we all can benefit from what is being said.