By guest writer, Katie Pearson
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” - Mark 9:37
Think back to when you were a young child. Where did you experience wonder? Wonder is defined as a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. I remember experiencing it looking at the night sky when camping with my dad, turning over rocks on the beaches of the pacific northwest looking for odd sea creatures, and waking up to the hushed beauty of the first snowfall.
Jesus isn’t telling his disciples here to be childish. Rather, he’s illustrating for them the importance of being childlike in our faith and how we practice it. What does that mean? Entering church on Sunday with awe and delight, instead of shame and guilt. Opening our Bibles expecting the Scriptures to breathe truth into places of our lives where we have been lost and desperate for answers. Waking up each morning excited to see God’s presence at work in the seemingly mundane aspects of our day. Perhaps most importantly, trading in all the religious “shoulds” we lug around, and simply delighting in the simple Gospel fact that we are loved beyond measure despite our sin and shortcomings.
What would happen if we allowed childlike wonder to capture our hearts and penetrate our minds? In other words, what would change if we truly stayed right on the Lord’s heels and followed him through the twists and turns of life instead of doggedly pursuing our own limiting beliefs? For one thing, I doubt we would experience as much anxiety as we do when we become distracted by earthly things. Have you ever watched a preschooler finger paint? I still remember the delicious smell as I smashed my hands into the bowls of green, blue, red and yellow goo and leaned in with all my bodyweight to smear my hands across the shiny paper. Looking back, I applaud my mom, who liked her home (and kids) tidy. It makes me want to hug her thinking about it, and I’m hoping she experienced some wonder watching my joy.
The Gospel tells us that if we trust God enough to come to him on his terms, wholeheartedly trusting that what Jesus did for us is enough, we will live like new creations—not just dusted off and looking better, but completely transformed into his likeness. Imagine literally becoming wonder itself. Being so wonder-full in Jesus that you impact everyone around you who is also childlike enough to stop and notice. I bet God would experience the deepest kind of delight.
Heavenly Father, you are the author of wonder and the Creator of all things truly wonderful. I pray that you remove anything that is preventing me from approaching you with the faith of a child. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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