A deeper relationship with God can begin with a fresh glimpse of God’s heart.
Consider the many ways Jesus invites us into a deeper relationship by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember how special it felt to receive an invitation to a party when you were young? Or how much it hurt to be left out? Invitations make us feel wanted, included, and accepted. In formal language, an invitation requests the pleasure of one’s company.
We all have a deep, God-given need to feel loved, valued, and accepted. God wired this need deep into the DNA of our souls. We loads of time and effort striving to meet our needs to be loved, valued, and accepted.
Invited to come with a child’s faith.
Jesus beckons us to come close, to experience a deeper relationship. One vivid example is found in Mark 10.
People were bringing children to Him so that He would touch and bless them, but the disciples reprimanded them and discouraged them [from coming]. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and He said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”1And He took the children [one by one] in His arms and blessed them [with kind, encouraging words], placing His hands on them.Mark 10: 13-16 AMP
What was important to Jesus?
Jesus set aside the plans and agenda of the disciples. He valued spending time with the children. Reprimanding the disciples for discouraging the children to come to close, Jesus made it clear what was important.
There’s a subtle lesson here. It’s easy to focus on our agenda and miss the blessing of being present with Jesus. Which mentality do we want to have—one that is so focused on what we want to do or a mindset that is taking our cues from the Lord?
In this passage, we see what was important to Jesus. He welcomed, received, and blessed the children with undivided attention. Isn’t that what our souls long for?
One way we come close to Jesus is by trusting him. When we are willing to choose faith, we don’t have to know all the answers or fix every problem. Responding to the Spirit, we receive the simple grace to overcome worry.
The children don’t have to prove themselves or earn the acceptance of the Savior. They come without hesitation, free from fear of disapproval or rejection. Fear isn’t a part of this story which give us a vivid glimpse of Jesus’ affection for the little ones.
Like a child. . .
Children come whole-heartedly. When my children were small, it was an event when Daddy came home. No pretense, no resistance, no barriers. They ran to the door, knowing Daddy would scoop them up in his strong arms.
On our hard days, my daughter would get upset to the point of inconsolable crying. My husband was the one who could best calm her frantic emotions.
Carrying her to the swing on the porch, he stroked her downy soft hair away from her hot, tear-stained face. Whispering his love, he rocked her until cries gave way to quiet breathing.
Resistance softened as she rested her head against his chest. All that was wrong became less important. It was his patient strength and loving presence that settled her heart.
When I take time to reflect on child-like faith, many of the things I worry about seem less important. I sense a settling in my soul, just like my daughter calmed in the arms of her daddy. Joy washes aside preoccupation when I remember to come to God with child-like love.
A picture of Jesus’ love.
One day I unexpectedly came across a painting of Jesus with the children. This painting hangs of the walls of a secluded chapel at Ridgecrest, a Lifeway conference center in North Carolina.
My heart skipped a beat as tears welled up in my eyes. I wanted to peel back the canvas and jump into the picture– to sit on Jesus’ lap. To listen to his words and to see for myself the loving look in his eyes.
I’m not sure how long I stood there. Captivated by the painting, I had a fresh realization that Jesus welcomes me to enjoy his presence. I snapped this picture with my phone to remind myself of an extraordinary moment that was an invitation.
It is the faith of a child brings us to Jesus, for if we don’t respond, we miss the blessing of this invited intimacy.
Though I couldn’t physically enter the painting, I accepted his offer to come close with the faith of a child. By capturing my attention, the Spirit invited me to stop and engage more fully with a truth about Jesus I had read many times. And I received a blessing. Immeasurably and beautifully blessed, I experienced God’s love in a precious way.
Place yourself in the picture.
Can you see yourself in this scene? Picture yourself as the child that comes close. Make the holy choice to respond to the invitation to come to him with the simple faith of a child.
When you struggle to feel worthy, remember that Jesus invites you to come close.
Did you know that the word blessed, eulogeo, is a word that spills over with goodness? Blessed is a powerful word that has become trite with overuse.
When Jesus blessed the children, this is what he was doing: celebrating with praises, asking God’s blessing, consecrating with a blessing, causing to prosper, making happy, bestowing blessings on, and giving the favor of God.
There are moments we long to rewind the tapes in our head that tell us we are unworthy or unwanted. Set aside past experiences when someone discouraged you, made you feel unwanted or unimportant.
Don’t we all need to shift our attention from accomplishing our agendas to responding to the heart of God, the one who invites us to come close? Respond to God’s invitation to experience his love more deeply.
This is your moment.
Make this your moment to believe that God seeks the pleasure of your company. Let his blessing fill your heart with the security that he loves you.
Come close, friend, and be blessed by his Spirit.
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