In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Incompetence can be the beginning of freedom

I never really understood that whole thing about us needing to have faith like a child.

I know that in Luke 18:16 (NASV) Jesus makes the statement about the kingdom belonging to those who are like children:

But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

In answer to why the children get the Kingdom, I've always heard it explained that children have a simple faith. That children just believe what they are told, and we, too, need to have that simple faith. That may be nice, but somehow this explanation of Jesus' words regarding this has never satisfied me. I've always felt like there is more there.

Today as I was reading from a book by Brennan Manning I came across another explanation of Jesus' words. Manning explained that he doesn't think it is by mistake that we have the story of the rich young man immediately following the account of Jesus telling his disciples to let the children come to Him. Manning said:

"Children contrast with the rich young man simply because there is no question of their having yet been able to merit anything. Jesus' point is, there is nothing any of us can do to inherit the kingdom. We must simply receive it like little children. And little children haven't done anything. The New Testament was not sentimental about children and had no illusion about any pretended innate goodness in them. Jesus is not suggesting that heaven is a huge playground for Cajun infants. Children are our model because they have no claim on heaven. If they are close to God, it is because they are incompetent, not because they are innocent. If they receive anything, it can only be as a gift."


This kind of talking about the Kingdom of God does not make it about piety or having it all together. This way of thinking challenges my frustration with myself for the fact that I still struggle with selfishness an impatience, that I still sometimes try to fill the hollow parts of me with food or relationships. This kind of talking about the Kingdom of God is for those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God - people like me.

The reason the gospel is the good news is because it's all about God's goodness.

Because of the good news I can be free from having to live in self deception - it's not about me being good anyway. I can leave off judging others because it doesn't matter. I can bask in, and be grateful for, God's gift to me. God's gift of faith that I can believe in the work of Jesus on the cross.

How can deepening your understanding that our salvation is a gift change the way you treat yourself and others?

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