Part 2 of the manuscript for "Rooted Faith – Grow Down" (continued from yesterday…):
I remember one day, when I was particularly exhausted from all of my “grownup” responsibilities like bills and expenses and deadlines and some important “grownup” decisions, I snapped at my son because he was (if you can believe this) singing and jumping in the living room. I barked at him, “Sometimes I wish you would just grow up!” My son put his head down and with his bottom lip out and he glanced at me with the most hurt eyes. If he could have articulated himself I imagined him saying, “Do you want me to grow up so I can be like you, Dad?” I could tell he was devastated by my grownup tantrum. And I asked myself, who was the real man here? Me with my childish response… or my son who took the brunt of my sin upon himself, and yet he didn’t say anything.
Look, we live in an environment that entices us to adulterate our lives. In the peer-pressure of the grown-up world we are drawn away from a pure connection with the Source of our life. God. We are pulled away from our zeal for goodness; from our grasp of genuine joy. Our eyes move from a faithful confidence in God to a worried impatience and to relentless tasks. And we sacrifice a faithful relationship with God for a fractured one while we pursue other desires and diversions. AADHD: Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder! How childish are we? If adultery means unfaithfulness to your first love, then grownups are guilty of living adulterous lives in terms of our faithfulness to God. We are much too distracted, much too enticed, much too selfish, and much too impure. And this is why I am concerned about my son growing up.
This week I asked Ben what he wants to be when he is grown up and he said “a firefighter”. I asked why… and he said because it would be fun. There is a reason why Jesus said we should have faith like a child. Matthew 18:2 –
“Jesus called a small child over to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck.” (NLT)
Thrown into the sea with a millstone around the neck! Jesus says that if you cause a kid to grow up and become adulterated in their relationship with God, then it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around your neck. If you mess with a kid, you are messing with the original God-Father!
A mature faith should be child-like… it should be innocent… it should be joyous… it should be simple… it should be zealous for God and life… it should be dependent upon and focused upon Jesus… it should enjoy God’s word and God’s presence all the time… it should seek after him and obey him. A mature faith should be unadulterated.
So my prayer for my son today isn’t that he grow up. My primary desire for my son as he grows older is that he will be a man of God who will grow down.
For the full audio version: 2009-06-07 Rooted Faith – Grow Down – Ken Castor
Thanks for the note Laura! I appreciate it the encouragement!
Hi Ana, thanks for leaving a comment on this site. I appreciate that. If you read throughout my blog you’ll notice that I welcome the wrestle of faith… and believe it is a necessary part of growing deep with God. I’d be interested in knowing more of your experience – as personal interaction helps us understand and process the questions we have. Books can certainly be of tremendous benefit; but I wonder if you’d agree that we do need to ask and grow in community?
Thanks for the comment Andrew… and sorry for the delay in response… I’ve been off of my site for over a week… I like what you have to say about mature faith. I’m not encouraging a robotic faith at all. Children always want to know “why” – and when they ask without selfishness, the “why?” becomes an exploration of their parent’s heart and desires. As long as you are asking out of a quest to know God and how things work because you have wonder, rather than asking out of a selfish demand, you will relish in the exploration of faith.
Sometimes, however, we do need to question out of inner turmoil. There is nothing wrong with this either. Children who experience difficult circumstances will ask some of the deepest questions I’ve ever heard. They ask because their faith is childlike… they know that the goodness of God should not allow such hardship… and yet that hardship has been allowed by God. So their questioning through turmoil is based on childlike faith.
Looking forward to that coffee this week bro!!
Andrew, the acceptance of questions and doubt is not easy to undertake. Only the most faithful priests seem to want to answer questions (or this is how I see it). I am Orthodox and here it is also considered that a true believer just has faith and doesn’t question anything. My advice is is to seek your own way of believing and if you d have questions, read rather than ask.
I Agree that an aduterates faith is quite easy to slip into in this world of mutltitude diversions and questions. I am curious, though. Do you mean that a mature faith simply believes and does not question? Would you deny the usefulness, some would say necessity, of the task of theology or does it somehow fit into your scheme of childlike faith. Admittedly I ask a lot of questions and perhaps I am looking for a justification of that questionin, but maybe doubt and even questions have their place in the mature faith walk. After all some of the most revered holy people of all time have been psalmists who lament and curse God’s inaction in their lives. Recently I have actually years it said that our most intense growth experiences occur during the times of our greatest testing and trials. Perhaps mature faith simply turns itself back to God when it atumnles into the mires. Perhaps a mature faith does not simply believe, but never turns away even if it is anger or disgust that causes it to turn to God. Maybe everything I have said here is expressed and explained quite simply and easily in your sermon, but I ask because that is what I do.
Ah, love it. Beautiful. Worth the wait. I will and am praying that for my children and myself, and ourselves today and from now on. Well done, Ken. Well done.