As Christ-followers, we are taught that God did not put any “extras” in the Bible. Everything in the Book serves God’s purpose for us. The apostle Paul put it this way: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV). A pastor/mentor/friend told me early in my faith journey that if God tells us once, it is important. If He tells us twice, it is really important. If He tells us three times, either directly in His word or through others, well, He is, as the old expression goes, trying “to drop a house on us” to get our attention. He dropped a mansion on me recently.
I am counseling/evangelizing a young couple and I asked a pastor friend for advice on getting this couple to know Jesus better. He recommended looking for something in the book of Mark. Several days later I took his advice, asked the Spirit to guide me, and opened my to Bible Mark’s gospel. God had me stop at Mark 10:13-16 (NIV):
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
This passage is exactly what I needed. God can use it and me to explain to this couple that we can trust God our Father as a young child trusts their parents to care for them. This is a difficult barrier for many believers to break through, especially if their childhood experience with their earthly parents was not a positive one. But God wasn’t done with me.
The same morning, He showed me two things in my devotionals that came back to this theme. First, David in Psalm 131: I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. The verse was included in a devotional by Darlene Sala, who added this:
“Many of us are like needy newborn babies. Every time we pray, we want something from the Lord. Of course, He doesn’t mind if we do. But I can’t help thinking He would be pleased if sometimes we came into His presence just to be with Him without asking for anything—like a weaned child who is satisfied to be with her mother just for the joy of their relationship.”
And just to make sure I didn’t miss it, God included this, from Paul David Tripp. Tripp was addressing the lie that we are independent humans with the right to live as we wish:
“Now, if you’re a parent, you know that your children fall into embracing that lie. That’s why they don’t hunger for more of your correction and don’t esteem your authority. From day one, our children want to believe that their lives belong to them and that they are the only authority that they need.”
The Psalmist, Darlene Sala and Paul Tripp are all correct. Children expect parents to love, care for and protect them. But at the same time, they want to believe they belong to themselves and can live autonomously. But they can’t, and neither can we. It took that trifecta for God to get through to me. Mark 10:13-16 wasn’t just for the couple I’m counseling. It was for me too! So, I asked God to show me where in my life I was trying to have it both ways. How am I trying to simultaneously be dependent on Him and independent of Him?
And it’s entirely possible it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps He gave all of this to me because you needed it too! Remember Paul’s words above: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” It’s also suitable for sharing with others. So, now that you’ve received what He shared with me, ask Him what He wants you to do with it. If you don’t, he’ll probably drop a house on you too.
This post is republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere WI.