"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
I love this verse---a lot. In it, Jesus is suggesting to us to become like little children. And of course, we grown people are quickly to be like, "Jesus, you know we can't do that. We can't go back to diapers and walking around drinking juice and throwing tantrums and trying to put everything in our mouths." Well, that's not what He meant. (Quick sermon) Children have an innocence that the world manages to take from us as we grow up. We have become conditioned adults (see blog Matters of the Heart) and have a hard time accepting anything that doesn't come with a complete future diagram, profit estimation, schematics, coupons, and the list goes on. So Jesus is informing us that we have to return as like children before we can truly enjoy the relationship with Him. I mean, our parents lied to us for years and told us Santa Claus could actually fit his butt down a chimney and put presents under our tree without us knowing? Really? But that shows our innocence. That shows that we trusted our parents so much that whatever they said, it was truth---and we trusted in it. So Jesus is desiring us to learn how to fully trust in Him like innocent children. Figured out where I'm headed yet? Let us all look away into space and imagine this moment.
There's a father teaching his young son how to ride a bike. The proper process is to get a tiny toddler bike with training wheels attached. Now, the father knows that the little boy has the potential to ride a two-wheeled bike without training wheels one day, but the father honors the process. He honors the confidence that must be built in the basics of riding the bike before allowing him to ride without the training wheels. (Wow, this is getting powerful too quick.)
So, the dad and the young boy is riding up and down the sidewalk. The dad is patiently being sure to teach the boy how pedaling is the most important thing about riding a bike; I mean, its what keeps the bike going. The little boy is fearful at first, because its all new to him. But his dad continues to remind the boy that he's there right behind him and that he want let him fall. So the boy pedals. The wind feels great rushing across his face. He's in a whole new world now, and he turns around and sees his dad running right along side of him. Now the day comes for the little boy to take off the training wheels. He's excited about the new level of achievement. I mean, every kid cannot wait to get his training wheels off. He's a big boy now! So the little boy hops onto the bike and instantly feels the difference. The two extra wheels are off the sides for extra support. That comfort zone of having those extra wheels there to stable him was missing, and he panicked. He quickly jumped back off the bike.
"What's wrong son?"
"It's scary dad. It doesn't balance right without the training wheels."
"I know. But you can't ride with them forever. You want to go back to wearing them?"
"Ok, so lets get back on the bike. You can trust me ok? The promise still remains. I won't let you fall."
So the little boy jumps back onto the bike and remembers the basics. Just pedal. My dad said I won't fall. Just pedal.
Before the little boy knew it, he was speeding down the sidewalk. "Dad look! I'm doing it! I'm really doing it!" The boy yells. But then fear grips him and he thinks that maybe he's going too fast for his dad to hear him. So he panics and looks over his shoulders. And there is his dad, sprinting right along side of him.
"I'm proud of you son."
Ok, back to reality. Now, this isn't a true story at all, but I imagine this is how that moment was like. My actual first bike ride was with a good friend of mine who's mom taught him the weekend prior. Both of us were sons of single mothers. But the title of this blog is "Training Wheels Off". And my Father has pushed me off on my two wheels and told me to ride with no fear, because He will not let me fall. He's been exposing new things in my heart that I did not know was there. I love examples, so follow along.
My actual dad used to make promises to me. Most bad dads do. He used to tell me things like I'll come get you this weekend, and wouldn't show up. I'll buy you some toys, and wouldn't take me shopping. To show my unhealthy attachment to my dad, he actually did come through with a promise by buying me a Kobe Bryant jersey--and I cherished it. I remember being told to sit on the ground in school and little Claude refusing to obey because I couldn't get that jersey dirty. But even after that one promise, many more failed. So, my heart became a conditioned one of never believing in promises from anybody claiming to be "Father". Sorry God, but that included you too. Even though You didn't do anything to me, I was responding to what man did to me and reacting to it towards You.
My healing came.
God showed me that He's not like my dad, and that He will hold true to His promises. I was having a hard time of trusting in His word because again, I didn't believe that a Father could actually go through with their promises. And maybe that's why God works so fast in my life because He knows I have a natural doubt embedded in my heart to not to believe in something too long. And with all the things God has begun to promise to me, I've been seeing them come true. As soon as He mentioned to me to get ready to start speaking, this happened. "I can't believe I'm on stage holding this microphone. But thanks for having me." And as soon as He mentioned to me that my writing will be the platform for my speaking, a year later I was invited to speak to a youth group in Connecticut by a wonderful friend that had only read my writing. So here's a Father that is finally coming through with promises He's made. And as you can imagine, it didn't end there.
My Father went on this rant the other day on my travels back to Auburn. I was listening to a song with beautiful lyrics that tapped into my heart and released a beautiful aroma that apparently pleased my Father. Here are the lyrics. "Like a child I'll take You at Your word. As these mountains of doubt, they fade away. I'm longing to trust and love You more. So for me this is beautiful. A brand new thought, and a brand new world. Can I stay here forever here with You?"
And guess what? My Dad said I could!!!!!!!!!
Then His rant began. "Claude, I've already been with you forever, just waiting on you to come to me. I was there when you had your first kiss, your first heartbreak. When you didn't think you had a father, I was there. When you had your first touchdown, your first 100 yard game, and when you was heartbroken again about your first heartbreak. I was there. I've just been patiently waiting for you to come to me."
And, as you can imagine, I'm pretty much soaking in my own tears by now. But this moment meant the world to me because I've became a man because my Father taught me. And the joy that has come from it has been overwhelming to say the least. I just love the visual of the training wheels because now I believe in my Father. I believe in His voice that's telling me to keep pedaling. The same voice that's telling me I won't let you fall. And guess what? The same voice that spoke the world into existence is telling you He loves you. I know this because He told me one day. Hmm..I wonder can I pop a wheelie? Ha.
You'll know if I do.