Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We Are Like Children, But HOW?

Scripture tells us to become like little children in our faith.  We are to trust God as children trust their parents or those they love.  Their trust and belief is unwavering and totally committed.  They believe with all their heart and lean on their parent to guide and care for them. This is the message we are to hear.  It occurred to me today, however, that we are like children but just in the wrong ways. 

Some of you know that I had a class of parolees for about 4 years.  I am now subbing for classes of the same type.  I had the privilege of returning to my former class today.  One of the discussions was very interesting.  First of all, I was giving a couple of them a hard time because I told them they had gotten lazy in their efforts since I have been gone.  You have to understand that I would have to spend the first few days and sometimes weeks convincing these guys it is worth it to try to learn.  Much of the time school had not been a pleasant experience for them.  They used to fight me all the way with excuses, goofing off or mostly just warming up to letting me help them.  Most had to be shown that I would help and could help AND that they actually could learn.

So, as I got a couple young guys to concentrate and we finished for the day.  I was encouraging them to realize they had years ahead to change their lives and this could be a good first step in that direction.  So, they began telling me that other teachers had not checked on them like me.  Therefore, because other teachers did not come up and make sure they were learning--they weren't.  They had convinced themselves, in other words, that it was up to someone else to make them learn.  Remember now that these are the same ones whom I had to "fight" to get them to accept help.  They realize it's a good thing that I help them, yet these same guys fought me doing that very thing.

It hit me how much like children they are and we are.  Children sometimes fight the very thing they need the most--things like sleep, protection, sharing and just plain discipline.  We have to help them learn that these are good for them.  Some fight harder than others and on different fronts, but all fight something.  Yet, it is the very thing that they need and would make life so much better. 

We are all children like that.  We fight against the very thing that would make life better.  Our sanctification requires chaffing against the things that we love greater than we love Christ.  We tend to fight against the change that we need to make instead of embracing it because it makes us more like Him.  It comes on so many fronts.  Some we don't even recognize at first.  Yet, true just the same.  My guys had learned that accepting help and putting in effort was so worth it even though they fought it at first.  Oh, that we would learn that the discipline of the Lord is so worth the effort. 

Lord, help us be honest with ourselves about where we argue or fight against the very thing you're wanting us to see.  Help us be like the child who has learned to trust and believe You even when it means we have to change.  Making ourselves more vulnerable is hard.  Accepting your help when things haven't worked in the past is hard.  Letting go of the past is hard.  Allowing You to enter in to the main frame of our hearts and mind is hard.  Sanctification is not easy, but so worth it.  Teach us to be like the little child that holds dad's hand because he trusts he MUST since his father said so.  That's the part of childlikeness that we need.  Help us let the other parts go.

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