The Ultimate Picture of Freedom
by Pastor Scott
I’m pretty sure that just about everyone who has attended Gloria Dei knows that I have a granddaughter named Hazel and that I think she is terrific. Being a grandfather is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I’m sure if you talked to Karen, she has shared the same feelings about being a grandmother. Karen and I were talking the other day about Hazel (imagine that); wondering what it is about spending time with her that is so special. And like everything in life, it really is all about God.
Watching Hazel grow and develop reminds us of the speed of life. Watching her find joy with a toy made up of a spatula and a mixing bowl is a picture of how the best things in life are the simple things. Seeing her running around after a bath and with no clothes and giggling without any inhibitions whatsoever, reminds us that God removes our shame and gives us freedom to enjoy life. Watching her dance around to any music, even silly made-up songs, is the ultimate picture of the freedom that we are invited to experience as loved and forgiven children of God, worshipping Him with our whole hearts.
Hazel can also test her boundaries, challenging the firm “no” spoken by her parents or us when she is about to touch something she shouldn’t touch or enter a dangerous situation. Just like we desperately need God to correct and guide us, Hazel depends on the adults around her to teach, correct and discipline her.
Having her jump into our arms and give us a big, wet kiss, or reach up to be held when she’s crying or needs something that she can’t even name, reminds us of the great affection that God has for each of us and how His arms are always open, ready to celebrate with our joy, comfort us in sorrow and meet our every need.
Jesus tells us in Luke chapter 18, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you,
whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
But we are also called to continue to grow and mature in our faith. Ephesians 4:14-15 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
A man by the name of Malcolm Guite, a poet and songwriter wrote, “A great paradox at the heart of Christianity is that Christians are called to be both child-like and mature!” Guite bases his findings on C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” and concludes that as Christians, we are “to be like Christ’s ‘child in the midst’ and yet also to grow up into the fulness of His stature.” This is so true! An amazing work of the Holy Spirit is that we can possess the innocence and trust of a child at the same time that we continue to grow into mature disciples. Part of reaching that maturity is hanging onto our wonder of God.
It seems like it was not that long ago that I was a child myself and just yesterday that my own daughters were young, and I’m reminded again of how quickly time passes by and how fast we all grow up (at least most of us). Any time you have the chance to spend time with a child, whether it is your child, a grandchild, a friend or an acquaintance, watch their face, enter into their play and embrace their innocence. Because in doing that, you will be reminded that joy, innocence, freedom and love is what God offers through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,
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