Stretch Your Faith!
I believe that some Christians are afraid to stretch their faith beyond their current level because of fear. It could be fear of disappointment, of looking or feeling foolish or a belief that God isn't going to listen to their prayers. Whatever the reason, Jesus provided an importatant element to help believers overcome this problem in Matthew 18:3.
He said that we need to become as "little children" when it comes to the things of God. We need to love and obey Him, worship and praise Him and we need to have faith in Him and in what He says. Jesus tells us that we can only do this as little children. So in this lesson, we're going to look at how you can develop this element to have great faith so that today your faith will begin to grow exponentially.
Matthew 18:3 (NIV) 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Be clear that Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 that we need to change and become as little children or we'll never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. People might think that Jesus was just casually talking here like we do when we make a comment, but don't really expect others to take us seriously. No! Jesus meant what He said and it's serious business if Christians desire to live successfully in Christ.
If you're not responding to God's Word from the perspective of a child, it could be the reason many or all of your prayers aren't getting answered. We can't go before God as jaded adults filled with anger and weighted down with all the problems of life. No! All of those things create a barrier between us and God. That barrier will keep us from communicating with God to receive our blessings and more important to grow in Christ to become mature Christians.
How To Be As A Child Before God
What we need standing between us and God is JESUS! But if we look at the things of God by means of intellect, past experience and emotion, we push Jesus away from our midst even though we need Him with us always.
We need to look back in time and remember how we believed whatever our parents, teachers, church leaders and relatives told us. In most cases we were right to trust, but as we mature in age and in life we learn who not to trust. But children believe without seeing. This is how we should trust the Bible, God's Word. We need to abandon emotion, what others or our minds tell us and past experience when it goes against God's Word.
When we approach God as a little child, we're able to see Jesus as our mediator, Who stands between us and God (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the one to take our burdens, our anger and all negative feelings before we enter into prayer so that we can get the answers we need! This is how we completely surrender to God in faith because it takes a commitment to put God first. You can't believe in God wholeheartedly without a commitment to believe whatever He says in His Word.
This is how we believed in our parents as we formed our trust from the beginning our our lives in them to take care of us, love us and protect us. When we cried, we expected our parents to take away the burden of our problems by feeding us, changing our diapers or holding us. Just as we gave our burdens to our parents so that we could be happy again, we must do the same as adults before God by giving our burdens to Jesus before we pray.
The process of giving your burdens to Jesus is a difinite result of what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus died to take our sins and all the problems of life for us so that we can be free of them. But we have to take action with God by actively following His Word and we do it through Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
By going through Jesus, He sustains us while we wait upon God in prayer to give us the positive conclusion we need. Knowing that Jesus has taken our burdens begins the process of our having answered prayer NOW!
Jesus says in Matthew 11:29 that we can rest in Him. He's provided rest so that whatever you need, you can relax knowing that you have it. Christians are provided rest by giving their burdens to Jesus. He is our mediator because we can't go straight to God. Instead, we give our burdens to Jesus and He gives them to the Father on our behalf.
Matthew 11:28-30 (ASV) 28. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Read what Psalm 55:22 has to say about giving your burdens to the Lord. It confirms that God will hold us up and sustain us while we wait upon Him through Jesus Christ. Once we give our burdens to Jesus as our Mediator, He gives them to the Father. Here's what happens when we follow this simple instruction just as a child obeys his or her parents; YOU WILL BE SUSTAINED BY GOD AND WILL NEVER SUFFER.
Psalm 55:22 (KJV) Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
The righteous don't have to suffer. You're righteous in Christ Jesus if you're saved, so this verse is talking about YOU! God will sustain you once you call upon Him for help or ask Him for something you need, but you're faith is keeping you from receiving.
All you have to do is stretch your faith as a child and God will sustain you while you wait upon Him. If when you pray, you're still afraid that God won't answer you, remember that He will sustain you while you get to that place of acknowledgement of His Word and it becomes settled in your heart as the truth.
Child-Like Faith Produces Amazing Possibilities!
Cultivating the faith of a child is certainly easy in practice, but because our lives become so complicated with our own desires over God's plans and pursuits for our lives, we make having faith a huge difficulty that turns into a big project. It doesn't have to be so dramatic!
Practice going back in time to when you were a child with child-like faith in everything. Then you'll get the picture about how easily great Christian faith can be developed. We can make it grow in a few seconds if we want to!
Matthew 18:2-4 (ASV) 2 And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Look To A Child For Child-Like Faith
The following story from John 6:4-14 gives an example of how just a little faith can turn into a huge miracle. A young boy was willing to trust Jesus with child-like faith to turn his 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish into enough food to feed about 5,000 hungry people.
The boy could have said, "that's rediculous Jesus! You'll never make this food feed all those people." But he didn't say that. He willingly gave His food to Jesus with the child-like faith that whatever Jesus said, it would be done!
John 6:4-14 (ASV)
4 Now the passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
5 Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude cometh unto him, saith unto Philip, Whence are we to buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred shillings’ worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are these among so many?
10 Jesus said, Make the people sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down; likewise also of the fishes as much as they would.
12 And when they were filled, he saith unto his disciples, Gather up the broken pieces which remain over, that nothing be lost.
13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which remained over unto them that had eaten.
14 When therefore the people saw the sign which he did, they said, This is of a truth the prophet that cometh into the world.
Practice Daily To Have The Faith Of A Child