“…to the extent that you and I surround ourselves with friends who are teachable, who are loving, who desire discipline, and who are committed to spiritual growth, we’ll become those things.”
– Pastor Brady Boyd [Speak Life]
Kids are so innocent, and there are few things I enjoy more than witnessing young-ones living out their innocent imaginative realities. These are truly beautiful and God infused moments. What shows the love and personality of God more than a child at play, without a care in the world. His design is all over them as they playout the dreams He has placed in their hearts. To them, life is all about that one moment in time. Nothing else exists but the adventure they are playing out in their minds. They are the hero, the princess, the character they believe, without a doubt, they will one day become. If we need a sight for sore eyes, I believe we have one in the therapeutic reflection of youthful recreation. Not much else can deflate nerves and anxieties like an innocent child operating in oblivious wonder, unaware of our world’s painful distresses.
God calls us all to approach Him as one of these little ones. In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus highlights this very idea – “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.”
Unfortunately for many of us, as we enter our adult lives, it is our emotions, our pride, our circumstances, our busyness, and our egos that prevent us from living in such childlike greatness. As a result, we remain disconnected, isolated, and removed from the very things that will help us to live as God intended us to live. Instead of sharing our lives and participating with like-spirited believers in the common interests of Christ’s body, we open the door to the many influences that slowly dim the light of spiritual maturity and Christlike virtue.
The question, then, that must be asked, if we do not want the dulling effect of this Godless world forcing us to our knees, is, “How do we become like these little children?”
Our Pastor, Brady Boyd, from his book, “Speak Life,” shares something that I believe answers this question very well. It speaks so strongly into why it is important for us to get past our innocence depriving adult ways, and become like the little children that Jesus places before us as an ever-present reminder. He says, “…to the extent that you and I surround ourselves with friends who are teachable, who are loving, who desire discipline, and who are committed to spiritual growth, we’ll become those things.”
If we surround ourselves with people who live as Christ desires us to live, then we become those things. If we surround ourselves with people who have “become like little children” in their faith, we too will become those things.
So now, the question becomes, “Who are we surrounding ourselves with? Are they, and for that matter, are we, committed to spiritual growth? And, then, how are we using what has been given to us to exemplify it for others?
This is why we have small groups at New Life Church. To provide a place for every person to connect and surround themselves with like-spirited followers of Christ. A place where we can be influenced by spiritually healthy friends, and where we can, in return, use our influence to model a life committed to growing in childlike faith.
This week, the New Life Groups summer trimester, along with the whole of this past Groups year, will come to an end. With that door closing, we will begin the process of opening the door to the fall trimester and to the start of the next Groups year. It is our heart and desire to more and more develop within our church body the understanding of healthy biblical community and discipleship. Thus, it is important, that we as leaders understand the importance of this as well, and to then exemplify it within our own lives.
Therefore, over this next month I encourage you to pray about who the Lord is placing in your life to influence and to be influenced by. Then, take steps to include these individuals in your life. Biblically follow those God is leading you to follow, and biblically lead those who God is leading you to lead. Participate in a group, or Invite people to a group you are leading. Share life with those connected to you, and exemplify for them what true childlikeness looks like. Devote yourself to living by and sharing God’s Word, to pursuing God in prayerful adoration, to seeking the Lord in Christ-centered faith and unity, and to being relationally intentional with those you are in fellowship with.
As we put aside our adult hindrances, and surround ourselves with those “who are teachable…loving…and who are committed to spiritual growth,” we will become those things. And as we become those things we will be able “change and become like little children,” approaching the throne of Grace with innocence, and helping others do the same. This is where we Go Deeper, and Grow Stronger.
[**For those leading or aspiring to disciple others through the leadership of a New Life Group, please join us for a Groups Orientation class on Saturday August 5th from 9am-11am in the Student Chapel. We hope to see you there! May the Lord bless you!**]