Friday, February 15, 2008

Getting Back To the Basics

I was speaking with a friend yesterday and telling him that I have been struggling with Bible reading and finding joy in my faith. He gave me some very good advice. He said that I should go back to the basics.

Here in seminary we tend to dissect little tidbits of verses, or focus on the significances of difficult verses, or memorize large sections of books, or read in biblical languages, but little is said about the basics. The basics are those simple passages that bring hope and joy. Those things that we so loved when we first became Christians and were spoon-fed everything by the Holy Spirit. In that spirit, I am going to post regular "Bible Basics" entries.

Here is the first. Matthew 19:14, "Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (NIV)

What comfort there is knowing that these words were written for us! We can know that they were because of his last statement, "such as these." This passage also matches up with
Matthew 18:3-4. "And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" See also, Mark 10:15. "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

What does this mean? I suppose we could discuss it at length, but I get a few things out of it quickly. Children are: quick to learn, innocent, fearless, don't know how not to trust, dependent, loving, compassionate, focused on what they love. If we were always this way about God and his scriptures, how different we would be! So I will forget all my adult reasons not to trust, and be dependent on God rather than on myself. I will learn (and learn to obey). I will love God and focus on him!

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