Matthew 10:15 - Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
A few days ago I was part of a women's retreat with some of the ladies from our church, young moms to grammies. As with most women it was a nonstop gab fest! We call it fellowship. And fellowship we did...in teaching sessions or at breakfast or dinner or like five of us who just had to go out to satisfy the craving we all surprisingly at the same time for a hot dog! Tee hee. We fellowshipped. Discussion for young and old on the importance of prayer...for the young moms over their children to grow up in the love of and to continue in their love and service to Christ to the older for persistence and patience in prayer for the salvation of family, friends, neighbors.
It was good, uplifting discussion, even in times when we just talked about everyday issues. We laughed, we cried, we rejoiced, we prayed. Time flew. Rest hours were shorter than normal for most, I'm guessing. And giggles erupted in the wee hours when there was stereo snoring! (Six to a suite.) The meals put together were done with love. The joy of our Lord was there ministering to each of us. I was taking it in and hopefully dishing out, although it was a perfect time for me to get to knowing a little more by listening to my new church family. As one young mom said to me one evening, "I hope we have made you feel welcome." Brings tears to my eyes even now.
Surrounded by like minded Christians, a person tends to find out how similar one's thoughts are to others...doubts, fears, anxieties which seem so prevalent in one's life seem a little less so when you know the hearts of others. One such thing happened to me. And the excitable and encouraging words from one woman allowed me to realize I'm not so different! I love this woman for sharing without her even realizing I needed to hear her words!
I'll share. I have from time to time wondered how much I really love the Lord. We are told to love the Lord with all our heart and all our mind. Well, what if you never had proper training on how to love? You didn't experience real love growing up, there were no hugs, no words to let you know. How do you know if you are giving the Lord all the love due Him?
As I listened to this woman share some things about herself I recognized the same thoughts that she's had that I have. I'm not so unusual, nor alone. And why should I even think I am? While I just now contemplated what she said, the thought about coming as a little child came to mind.
Coming to Christ takes no more than childlike faith. Put away the deep thoughts about how this is achieved. It happens at God's right time when we just believe. When children are small don't they just believe whatever is said to them? They trust their mommy and daddy, providing they are good parents. (As a small child I know I was loved; that changed over the years because sadly my parents' lives changed.) Young children haven't grown so intellectual as to weigh all the issues. That comes later. This is what Jesus wants...that we just come to Him as little children, trust in Him, believe in Him. Faith so small, like a mustard seed. And then He will give you the knowledge and wisdom. Although like I said in my last blog...we still only know the "mere edges" of God.
So, I was pondering the conversation and thinking it isn't so difficult to receive Christ. When it happened to me it came in an instant, without reservation as if someone had filled me with a perfect conviction that this was what I needed and I was going to go for it without any thought to what others would think. And Someone did. This was for ME! And I was going for it, now. No thoughts about whether it was the right thing to do or not. I didn't realize it then, but My spirit knew it was right because God filled me with His Spirit then and there. I was at a place in my life when I was an "easy, fillable target." And receive I did.
I came as a little child, full of excitement and a bit of wonder at it all, which has grown over the years. The questions still arise: How is it that I should be sought out by God? Why was I chosen to see things in such a different light? Why should MY ears hear or eyes see or spirit discern things that others do not? What makes ME so special? This woman said she has had these uplifting yet humbling thoughts too. We both relished the idea that God chose us. And this is not haughtiness or arrogance. Here is the explanation in a song.
The only answer we had is that God knew our hearts, our longings to know Him more, our desires to go deeper in relationship with Him. I don't want just a little, I want more. There's a phrase I use when I'm eating something that really tastes good: It tastes like more. Well, we are told to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). One little taste of His Word, His love, His compassion, even His judgment, and it "tastes like more."
Well, I still haven't gotten to the answer as to how we know we love the Lord. If we love Him we are obedient to His commands, first of which is loving Him above all other things. This same woman once before asked me if something/anything didn't happen that I so longed for would I still follow the Lord. I said yes...because He is the strength I need to get through this life. He is the first and the last, beginning and the end.
If we can just turn away and not continue in our walk with Him, or if we can go a day without a thought or acknowledgment of Him or thankfulness for Him and to Him, we don't love Him with all our heart. While it's not supposed to be about feelings, we are often prone to be caught up in them. I believe we don't need to know intricate details of how all this happens. Just come as that little child. Don't doubt, don't ask questions, just come. Isn't that the very first act of obedience, after all? It's yet another trust issue. He who has called us out of the darkness and into His glorious light has seen our hearts if we have responded to that call. If we have shown that we do not want to be conformed to
this world but desire to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by His Word to prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God in our lives (Romans 12:2), we are showing our love for Him.
As my friend told me, she asked the Lord to show her how much she loved Him and He did...through Scripture. Why it's important to be in the Word...and paying special attention, listening to Him speak, asking for the answers to specific questions. Jesus also said we must first be converted, then come as a child. That conversion is that turning from darkness to light. From wrong to right. From "don't need Jesus" to needing Him. That's obedience too. Surrendering to God's authority.
I have questioned but believe I have known all along. The enemy will drive us nuts trying to undermine the good God has done. He wants seeds of doubt. Let's not let up on tasting and seeing the Lord is good and obeying His commands. Let us cry out in our spirits, "It tastes like more." The more we surrender, the easier it gets...and the more we love the Lord.
I will end with a scripture near and dear to my heart and one which was brought up in a teaching at this retreat. It was a scripture that was quoted at the end of the sermon the day I received Christ. It helps to show what loving the Lord is.
Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?