Childlike Love, Simplicity And Trust


Childlike Love, Simplicity And Trust


And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

Just as children that are of a humble heart are in a place to be led, so likewise those who are grieved at their own sinful condition and inability to do what is right, are in a place to be led by the Spirit of Christ into the kingdom of God. Jesus did not come to save proud self-righteous people who flatter themselves in their good deeds whereby they believe they are wonderful people. Rather He came to save those that realize they are sinners and that realize they need God's love, care, and grace, moment by moment, to do what is right. (See Mark 2:15-17; Luke 18:9-17). When we cry out to Jesus for help and come to Him in true childlike love, humility and trust He gives us His Spirit and begins to make a REAL change in our lives by the power of His grace. This change will be lasting if we CONTINUE YIELDING TO HIS GRACE, THROUGH FAITH, HUMBLY SUBMITTING TO THE COUNSEL, GUIDANCE, REPROOFS, AND CORRECTIONS OF HIS SPIRIT.

Saved By Grace

See Titus 2:11-14. Grace brings salvation and teaches and enables us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. Grace will purify us and make us zealous of good works IF WE HUMBLY SUBMIT TO ITS POWER which Jesus purchased for us by His blood. Christ lightens all people coming into the world (John 1:9) and as we yield to His light and grace our deeds will be wrought by the power of God. But those who love darkness resist the light lest their deeds should be reproved, (see John 3:19-21). Jesus cannot save us unless we allow Him by coming to Him in true love, faith and humility that we may be led by His will and wisdom and not our own. We are saved by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-10) in the sense of remaining little in our own sight, trusting Jesus to do for us what we can't do for ourselves. His grace will form us into His workmanship AS WE REMAIN LOW, HUMBLY SUBMITTING TO THE STREAM OF THOUGHTS, ASPIRATIONS AND TEACHINGS OF GRACE that come into our awareness as Jesus sees fit. Our work, therefore, is to constantly remain in a humble, broken frame of mind wherein we are constantly receptive to and yielded to the leadings and enabling power of the Spirit so He can complete His work in and through us.

True Freedom

We are either free from sin or free from righteousness. We are either subject to the government, thoughts and suggestions of the devil, or we are subject to the government, counsel and guidance of Christ. True freedom is experienced when we are willingly subject to the will and wisdom of God which He reveals to us through the Spirit of Jesus. WE WERE CREATED TO LIVE BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD. As we obey His daily guidance out of love for Him, this is what gives us true life and contentment. Imprisonment and bondage is experienced when we yield our mind and members to the will and wisdom of the serpent. Though this may create a seeming peace and rest in sin, yet fruits of misery, confusion, disorientation, meaninglessness etc. are bound to surface.

Through Much Tribulation We Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven (Acts 14:22).

When we first come to Jesus through yielding to the faint drawings and convictions of the Spirit, there is yet much darkness and filth in us that makes obedience to the motions of sin seem easier than obeying the motions of the Spirit. For this reason God may chastise and discipline us to keep us open to His leadings and to keep us on the right path. If we yield to His discipline, forsaking what He asks us to forsake, and doing what He asks us to do, afterward it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness, (see Hebrews 12:5-11). The more we yield to the drawings of the Spirit the more we are cleansed, the old man put off, the new man raised, and the stronger our desires grow to obey and do what is pleasing in His sight and the less need there will be for chastisement. But when we quench the Spirit and persistently disobey Him, and hardened ourselves against His disciplining rod, our conscience becomes seared, and we may end up wallowing in sin with no remorse or repentance. This is a dangerous place to be in. The key is to maintain a childlike love, humility and brokenness (keeping our own insufficiency ever before our eyes) waiting on and trusting in Jesus to lead us on the right path, daily yielding to His motions, chastisement, and corrections. This is not a easy path but much conflict and tribulation is to be gone through. There is a need to die daily to our own will and wisdom, and to grow in the will and wisdom of God by keeping our mind single to catch and obey the heavenly manna and whispers of the still small voice of the Spirit. This is a hard path, a strait and narrow way, and it requires a life of constant prayer, watchfulness, patience, faith, receptiveness etc. because the powers of darkness seek distract our heart and attention and to separate us from the heavenly manna of the Spirit which is our true source of livelihood.

Traps To Avoid

The serpent has many subtle traps to draw the soul away from receiving the much needed heavenly food and nourishment. One tactic he has is to create a discontentment in the soul towards the daily portion of heavenly bread, given to the soul by the Spirit, by suggesting to the soul to seek after forbidden knowledge, high thoughts and airy notions, prying into mysteries etc. where God does not lead. If the soul yields to this temptation it will be sidetracked from the true path and may seem to grow exceeding spiritual, high and lofty, but what really happens is it loses its appetite for the true simple, plain manna, which causes its spiritual growth to be stunted. Such a soul must see its error, repent, and go back to the feet of Jesus and humbly wait on Him for his/her daily portion of manna. Keeping here, and abiding here, true spiritual growth takes place. Those that do keep to the daily leadings and commands of Jesus, (taking up the cross to the flesh and being obedient to the leadings though very humiliating and contemptible to the proud flesh and self-will,) may be bombarded with mockings, scornings, revilings etc. which the enemy uses to try to discourage them from obeying the plain commands of the Spirit. Or the serpent may, through his false ministers, feed the soul with watered-down doctrine that pleases the flesh but stunts the soul's growth and leads it away from the kingdom instead of closer to it. Through false ministers he also goes to an opposite extreme and binds the soul to rules and regulations outside the Spirit's leading. This forces the soul to leave off patiently waiting on the Spirit and to instead, in haste, get into the fleshly striving in an attempt to create its own righteousness. There are also other traps the serpent uses such as, either spiritualizing a leading that is suppose to be obeyed in a very literal way or literalizing a leading that is intended in a symbolical way. Or, when the Spirit gives a faint (but certain) leading that is to be obeyed the serpent attempts to beguile the soul into looking for something more extraordinary and clear, thus moving the soul to despise the day of small things (resisting the guidance of Jesus in its humble, lowly appearances). If the soul persists to desire some extraordinary clear light or revelation (and resists the faint whispers of the Spirit whom leads the soul in ways lowly, in ways of love and humble service to others, in ways of forsaking the world etc.) he or she may be given over to a strong delusion, and led into paths and entanglements that God does not lead. The serpent may also lead the soul to trust in riches, serve mammon, lust, envy, wrath, hatred, self-righteousness etc., etc. The Spirit has His ways of revealing to each individual his or her entanglements and secret sins (either by His light shining in their heart, through dreams, through the written word, through chastisements, through others etc.) and it is up to each individual to choose whom they will yield to and obey - either the voice of the true Shepherd or the strangers voice. If we don't maintain childlike simplicity and trust in Jesus we will be in danger of yielding to all the crafty reasonings the serpent suggests to us that go against the plain, simple leadings of the Spirit.

There Is Safety In A Multitude Of Counselors (Proverbs 24:6)

Discernment of the voice of the Spirit and the voice of the serpent is something we grow in. The true Church of Christ is made up of people who have His Spirit and are subject to His leadings. Those that are well acquainted with the guidance of the Spirit are in a place to help the less mature to know the Spirit's voice. True ministers of Christ don't point souls to themselves or to outward rules and regulations merely but to the Spirit of Jesus, to learn of Him, and to obey what He is asking of them at their level of growth - never asking of them more than what they are ready for or less. However, if Jesus asks something of us that our flesh does not want to do we must be careful to not rationalize our way out of it by saying it is the strangers voice. To follow the guidance of the Spirit is not a easy path especially when the flesh and self-will is still much alive in us. This is where we have to watch out for the crafty reasonings of our deceitful heart. Many times the guidance of the Spirit is very strict and one-pointed and must be followed without rebellion. Please read through the Gospels and see what Jesus asked of people. He taught them to love and forgive their enemies rather than taking revenge. He taught souls to sell what they have, live in simplicity, trust in God to take care of them and to spend their time and energy in seeking the kingdom of God etc., etc. Many things He taught are opposite of our selfish desires but the more we come to Him in humility and yield to His leadings, the more our desires and aspirations grow wherein we desire to obey and please God.

Conclusion

Just as Noah, being warned of God of things not yet seen, moved with fear and prepared an ark to the saving of his house (Hebrews 11:7), likewise the childlike broken soul, who realizes they are heading for destruction and who realizes their insufficiency to do anything right, will daily sit at the feet of Jesus, in love, reverence and godly fear, humbly submitting to His daily word and guidance. The end result is that the soul will have a happy eternity.

Please consider this wise advice which was written by Isaac Penington over 300 years ago:

Mind what was forbidden you, or required of you in that time, when you felt the warmth from God. For there is then a heavenly voice, and a heavenly vision most commonly in the heart, though the enemy turns the mind, as much as may be, from heeding it. There is then oftentimes somewhat of the worldly nature and course discovered, or somewhat of God's will made manifest; somewhat that you do, or have done, which then you see to be not of the Father, but of the world; and somewhat perhaps of the Father, which you know you ought to become subject to, but you are afraid of the cross, or shame, or would have some more clearness first. Oh! call this to mind afterwards: and if ever you would receive life, and come into union with God's truth, and receive His Spirit and power, and be established therein; become obedient to the heavenly vision! Consult not with flesh and blood, but enter into the obedience of that very thing, which was forbid or required, be it little or much. This is the right way, this is that your mind should be exercised in. And if your mind be exercised faithfully here, the Lord will strengthen you against the tempter, when he comes with his temptations and subtle objections. But if you falter here, and become unfaithful in the little, you are not like to meet with more; no, nor with the preservation of the Lord in that little. And indeed this is the cause of the miscarriage of many, because they receive not that little which was made manifest, in the love of it; but had pleasure in the unrighteousness, and so lingered in pleasing the spirit of the world, both in themselves and others, when they were called by the Lord to quit it, and travel out of it. {See A Further Testimony to Truth, revived out of the ruins of the apostasy See under section entitled A Caution #5.}

Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:24).

Come Out Of Her My People

{Written by Isaac Penington over 300 years ago but applicable for today.}

THERE is a necessity of separation from the spirit, ways, and worships of the world, by those that will be the Lord's people. The Jews outward were to be a separated people from all other people (from their gods, from their worships), if they would enjoy the favor of the Lord, and the blessings of the good land. God had separated them from all other nations, and they were not to mingle with them; neither in their worship, nor marriages, &c. So the Jews inward, who are God's gathering of spiritual worshippers, out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, are to be a separated and holy people to the Lord. For when God cast off the Jews, he sought out worshippers in their stead, even for a spiritual nation and holy people of inward Jews, instead of that outward people, outward place of worship, and outward land, which he cast off. Now, those whom God seeks to be the new inward, spiritual worshippers, instead of the literal and outward, must come out of all other ways and gatherings, upon the many mountains, to the mountain of the Lord's house, and to the place of his gathering: the command is express, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate; and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you," &c. 2 Cor. 6. It is true, I seek you for worshippers, and I call you to the gospel feast of fat things, and I will receive you if ye come; but ye must first come out from among all the false ways and false worshippers, and depart from (and not so much as touch) that which is unclean (the unclean spirit, his unclean ways and worshippers), and then I will receive you, and own you as my sons and daughters, and be a Father to you; not else. Mark now; the Jews outward (in their day) must be separate from all the Heathen outward, if they would be judged and owned by God for true worshippers according to the law. The first Christians were to separate from both Heathen and Jews too (even their temple, priests, and ordinances, which were once of God), if they would be worshippers, true worshippers under the gospel, worshippers of God's seeking. And the Christians, after the antichristian corruption and darkness, must come out of Babylon; that is, out of all forms of religion, and buildings out of the life and power (for that is Babylon, the city of confusion, which is built, stands out of, and practices out of, the order and unity of the Spirit), if they will be found worshippers in the day of restoration; after the long darkness of the apostasy, they must not worship the beast (nor worship God as the beast teaches and requires; for in so worshipping, God is not worshipped, but the beast), nor bear his name, nor receive his mark, either on their forehead or right hand, nor be of the number of his name. Now, the command is as express to come out of Babylon, that is, to separate from all antichristian ways and worships, as ever it was to separate from the Heathen and Jews; and there is no being a true worshipper in God's sight, but in the true way of separation from all false worshippers, who worship in forms and appearances of godliness, out of the life and power.

Now, oh, how precious it is to feel God seeking, God gathering, God separating, God teaching, leading, drawing into the truth, and true way of worship! For there are self-separations, which are out of the true Spirit, life, and power. Yea, God may begin the separation, and another wisdom may step in, and carry it on, out of the limits of the sweet, innocent Spirit, life, and power. Oh, blessed is he who is separated by the Lord from all that is not of him! But he that is but sensual, and has not the Spirit, but only by a literal knowledge separates himself, he differs from others but in the outward form and appearance of godliness; but is one in nature and ground with those whom he separates from. Thus the Papists, and all pretended Christians (of the same spirit) who feel not the true Spirit, power, and life, are but one in the ground, how great soever their difference outwardly seem. And those that separate further and further (even to the utmost extent outwardly, or in a way of appearance), being not separated by the Lord from that nature and spirit wherein the enmity lodges, they are still inhabitants of one and the same city (for the city of Babylon is very large), and daughters of one and the same mother, even of the wisdom which is from beneath; which wisdom, in its highest exaltation, is far beneath the nature and true excellency of the pure and heavenly wisdom, even in its lowest and most contemptible appearance. Oh! blessed is the religion, the worship, the separation, the fear of the Most High God, the faith, the knowledge, which begins in the Spirit and power (even in the evidence and demonstration of God's own Spirit), and which stands and abides therein! For herein are the children of light distinguished, and kept distinct (by God Almighty, who has made the difference), from all the children of darkness. {See A FEW EXPERIENCES CONCERNING SOME OF THE WEIGHTY THINGS RELATING TO GOD'S EVERLASTING KINGDOM See under section entitled Concerning Separation from the Spirit and Ways of the World

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:36)

(The reflections above are offered by a friend, who contributed James Nayler's Spiritual Writings to this site.)