I participated in a “wildman” Saturday last weekend. I was reminded again of the importance of becoming childlike in our faith. As men we tend to complicate our relationship with God, analyzing rather than being able to simple receive and rest in the Father’s love. We feel we must do something to improve our relationship. Richard Rohr observes that men are trapped in their small psyches, believing in the validity of their objective truth. We as men can easily get trapped “in complex consciousness” continually returning to the same wells for water; “the wells of reason, control, order and power.” Rohr points out that it is through pain, struggle and darkness that a man is forced out of his control tower of reason, into a new openness, which produces a new trust in the goodness of God. The complex is simplified into a simple trust in Jesus. One Puritan author called it, “A comfortable walk with Jesus.”
Jesus speaks to this simple trust when he observes his disciples arguing over who has the highest rank in the kingdom. “For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, ‘I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom” (Matt. 18:2-4 – The Message). Men, it is only when we give up “the big deal” along with analyzing out of the need to know, that we become simple and elemental.
I am not talking about being simplistic. Rather I am referring to a man who has an open, trusting spirit that is open to God. He has been able to give up the need to control and understand, for a simple trust in God’s leading. He is a man who can live with great conflicts and paradoxes in his daily life, but yet keep a simple trusting focus on Jesus. He has become single minded in his attentiveness to the presence of the Lord in his life. This allows him to be discerning in choosing the “one thing that is needful.” When are focus is not on the Lord, we make choices that complicate our lives
So how do we keep moving toward this childlike posture in our spiritual life. Speaking from personal experience I would mention the following steps. First, be willing to admit your pride and arrogance in thinking you know more about your heart’s condition then God. Second, get your focus off your own ruminations and inner striving. If you have to – cry out to the Lord. The Lord delights in helping desperate men. Third, find a trust spiritual friend, who can help you objectify your spiritual condition. Four, trust the Lord as best you can with your condition, by being totally honest in his presence. Be real before the Lord with your struggles. Fifth, ask for grace and strength to walk in simple faith before the Lord. Finally, learn to give thanks in all circumstances and have a grateful heart.