We have been looking at choices over the last few weeks, and this week we want to look at your choices through eyes of a child, and we’ve decided that making the right choices is a great idea. It not only minimised bad consequences which can last generations, but it keeps you aligned to God’s best for your life, because destiny is not something external that happens to you, destiny is the sum of your choices… the good, the bad and the ugly.
So we should want to make wise choices that bear good fruit forever, right? As God challenges us in the Bible,
Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong's)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
The choices you make in life often depend on your perspective, and today I want to look at life through the eyes of a child..
YOU’VE GOT TO BE KID-DING?
We often look down on kids… they’re small, they’re young, they’re inexperienced, but Jesus said,
Matthew 19:14 (ESV Strong's)
but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Why would Jesus, who spent a lot of time teaching us principles by which we can make wise, godly choices and thereby live blessed and righteous lives, say the Kingdom of heaven belongs to kids? I mean, you’ve got to be kidding!
What can He see in kids that we can’t? What makes kids different or even better than us adults?
It can’t be cleanliness, because as adults we cringe at some of the unclean things children do. They eat worms, they poop their pants and they smother their faces in food trying to eat it. They are weaker and dirtier than adults. No, it can’t be anything physical.
And it can’t be mental. We know more words, we understand higher principles and we have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Would you let a 7 year old surgeon operate on you?
I believe that children are superior to us adults in their purity and their faith. Jesus said…
Mark 10:15 (ESV Strong's)
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
So let’s look into the eyes of a child, and into their soul, to discover how we should be like them… How are children different to us?
1. CHILDREN ARE A CLEAN SLATE
Kids are pure and innocent… They come without a past, without the hangups and negative perceptions that our past actions, experiences and sins leave us with. They are a clean slate, ready to be written on by the master’s hand, or anyone else’s, which is why eyes of a child can be so easily influenced.
Adults carry baggage from their past, and this colours how they see their present and future in the Lord. God realises that coming to Him when you are already negatised by some past sin, things you’re ashamed of, a failed relationship, marriage, business, anything else, affects how you trust Him and other people right now. Your past limits your present and future, so we must make our past, past at last!
In fact, the Lord is so concerned about you hanging on to your past failures that He says this…
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong's)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
You won’t find streams, you won’t find God’s way and you won’t find true peace if you hang onto the failures and sins of the past. Maybe it’s time to learn from a child, and even from a child’s movie. You need to let it go! Today needs to be the day you let your shameful past go, see through the eyes of a child and start looking at Jesus!
2. CHILDREN WANT TO PLEASE THEIR PARENTS
How many of you know that a child loves to please their parents. They might be disobedient at times, but every child longs for their parent’s approval, and most kids will do whatever it takes to make mum or dad proud of them. Paul wrote this…
2 Corinthians 5:8-9 (ESV Strong's)
We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
Church, we need to be setting out to please our Heavenly Father, just as a child wants to please their parents. Does everything we do please our Father? Do we live to please Him, or ourselves? We need to see through the eyes of a child in this.
3. CHILDREN ARE TRUSTING
I remember my kids jumping into my arms from a height, totally trusting that I would catch them and they would not fall or injure themselves. The trust of a little child is beautiful, and as a dad it pleases me no end when my girls trust in me.
Psalms 20:7 (ESV Strong's)
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Kids don’t worry about the Aussie dollar, or the housing market or bitcoin. They have no fear of anything or anyone, even strangers. We once found Kira talking to a stranger, and when we pulled her up on it she explained he was not a stranger, his name was Geoff.
I believe we need to relearn that absolute trust we once had through eyes of a child, the trust that people who’ve let us down and life’s experiences have robbed us of. We mustn’t trust in chariots or horses, governments or social groups, the stock market or business or any person… we need to totally and absolutely trust in the Lord, trusting nothing and no one more than we trust Him. We must see through eyes of a child and become childlike again with the trust of a child!
4. CHILDREN SEE WONDER AND HAVE HOPE
Kids always see the best in things. Show them anything, even something simple, and they are amazed, excited and full of wonder, aren’t they? I love showing Kaileigh something new. They other day Raymond and I took Kaileigh to the beach and we sat in among the rock pools, and every little shell was amazing, every wave was a wonder to her, until one knocked her over. To a child, the world is new and wonderful!
We see a sunset… kids see an explosion of colour. We see a shopping centre, they see 101 things to do and discover. We may see ourselves as tired, broken or soiled, but they see us as superheroes, amazing, trustworthy and able to do anything. How many kids believe their dad can fix anything!
We live in a world where hope has been systematically destroyed in our lives. You have enough knocks, you suffer through loss or marriage breakup or sin or sickness or disappointments and you lose hope. But the Bible says,
Romans 15:13 (ESV Strong's)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Kids have hope and see wonder in everything, and so should we. Becoming childlike restores our hope and causes us to see good, joy and wonder around us.
5. CHILDREN ARE TEACHABLE
Children are ready to learn, totally receptive to what we want to teach them. Crosby, Stills and Nash had a song, “Teach your children well,” and it holds true today.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV Strong's)
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
And how many of you know that even little kids often pick up more than they should because they are receptive and eager to learn!
Adults, do we come before the Lord with that same eager and teachable spirit? Many prayers sound like people trying to teach God a thing or two! Trying to make Him bend to their will, rather than the other way around. But the Bible says,
Psalms 143:10 (ESV Strong's)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Becoming childlike and teachable helps you make increasingly godly decisions as you develop and mature in Christ.
And how do kids learn most often? They learn my imitating those they see around them.
I remember the story of a mother who heard their children screaming and cussing, and went outside to stop them. They replied, “But we are just playing mummies and daddies.”
Paul recognised this childlike trait in all of us when he wrote,
1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV Strong's)
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
One of the best ways to grow is to imitate someone you admire. In my music, I sound a bit like Paul McCartney and Keith Green, because I imitated them growing up.
Becoming childlike means imitating Christ, and other Christians around us. Imitating is a great way to grow, and childlike faith gives you a childlike opportunity to learn to become Christlike.
6. CHILDREN ARE FULL OF POTENTIAL
As you become an adult you tend to box yourself in instead of seeing through eyes of a child. You listen to what others think and you limit yourself and what you believe you can do. As an adult, you’re conditioned not to dream big but to simply tow the party line. Don’t reach for greatness, reach for the Tv remote and stay who you are.
But God says this…
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong's)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
When you come to Christ, He sees the true potential in you and has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future beyond your wildest dreams.
See Through the Eyes of a Child
But how do you as an adult, with all your history, hangups and hopelessness reach that potential?
There’s only one way, and that’s by being born again, and embracing some of the beautiful, innocent and trusting traits of a child... through eyes of a child.
Then you place yourself in His hands and let Him direct you…
INTRODUCING THE MASTER POTTER
Children are like clay in a potter’s hands… unformed, untainted, full of potential, they can become anything, they can achieve anything. And when we become childlike, when we place ourselves into His skilful hands, God can make anything out of our lives He chooses to create…
Isaiah 64:8 (ESV Strong's)
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
When you come to Christ you are born again, and you have the opportunity to become childlike and see the world and God in a new way… through a child’s eyes! You’re a blank slate, so today it’s time to leave the past behind, give your heart like clay to the potter and say, “Here’s my life, Lord, make it what You want it to be.”
But we’re adults, right, we want to control things and we can’t let go and let God! We want to tell Him what to do because we want to make a life for ourselves. Yet He is life and life to the full, so maybe we should become children again and let the potter shape our future!
Let me finish with a story told by Amy Carmichael who devoted her life to the children on India when she visited a master potter… she tried to make a pot, but finished with a gluggy mess.
Then the potter said, "sit down, you can make a pot." "That I cannot do, as you see by what I have already attempted," I replied. "Sit down," he insisted. I did so. Then, sitting behind me, he put his arms over my arms, his hands over mine, his fingers over my fingers. The wheel began to spin. "Do not allow your fingers to resist mine," he advised, and I obeyed. There under my fingers, to my astonishment, grew a beautiful vessel. The wheel stopped and my friend said, "Behold your pot."
"Not mine," I said, “You made it.” But he replied, "Look on your hands; there is clay on your fingers, so they touched the clay, for there is nothing on my hand. Whose hand touches the vessel, that hand makes the pot," the potter said and smiled.
When we make choices in our lives, we can resist the hands of God, or let Him guide our hands to create the masterpiece He longs for. A child is shaped and moulded by their parents, and so we must be shaped and moulded by our Father.
Matthew 18:2-4 (ESV Strong's)
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Today the Lord is calling you to greatness! You and you alone are responsible for what your life becomes. Do you let the master potter guide your hands, do you trust like a child and let Him lead your life, or do you do it yourself? The choice is yours… blessings or cursing, life or death… now choose life!
Children, come to Jesus and ask Him into your life as Lord and Saviour and see Him through eyes of a child.
Parents, are you willing to throw off the past and let God mould you into your future. Can you trust Him with childlike faith?