“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 1:11, NIV
Everyone, whether they realize it or not, acts in faith every day. When we get in a car, we place trust in the drivers around us to drive safely so we can arrive at our destination. When you order food from your favorite restaurant, you have faith that the chef is preparing your meal properly. If you look at the weather on your phone and decided you don’t need a jacket, you are putting faith in the weather forecast.
You may have heard the phrase having faith like a child or childlike faith in reference to faith in Christ. Although the Bible never uses this phrase, it does have a lot to say about faith. Hebrews 1:11 tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Children are known for their pure belief and trust, and as Christians we can learn something from them.
What Does it Mean to Have Childlike Faith?
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “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. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” – Matthew 18:2-5, NIV
Having faith like a child is no easy feat. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells us “whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Having faith like a child requires putting aside our will. This way our opinions and misconceptions do not get in the way of trusting Christ wholeheartedly. We have to admit that we do not always know what is best and humble ourselves, which can be a challenge.
Children often have very little control over their own lives. Yet, in healthy circumstances, children embrace the fact that they have to put their trust in other people. They trust what their parents, teachers or other adults say without doubts or fear. For example, when a young child is shown a magic trick, their eyes light up with wonder.
Adults, on the other hand, are much more skeptical than children. It seems as the childlike faith and wonder are somehow lost in the process of growing up.
Most adults do not embrace putting their reliance or trust in other people as children do. In some ways, this is good because it protects us against being hurt and shows we are more aware than children are. However, in other ways, embracing trust and faith like a child is beneficial.
Having childlike faith in Christ as an adult does not mean that we have to trust blindly as some may assume. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Children are often open to learning and trying something for themselves. For example, if you tell a young child there is a puppy outside the house, they will most likely believe you, but they will investigate the fact for themselves. If what you are saying adds up and there is a dog outside when they go to look, that fact will strengthen their trust.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” When the Bible talks about being like a child, it does not mean that we should not be educated and have reasons for our beliefs. Having faith like a child means we should have confidence in the promises of Christ and faith even in situations where we cannot see.
Faith as Small as a Mustard Seed: The Power of Faith
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
Childlike faith is powerful. In Matthew 17, Jesus says if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. This does not necessarily mean we are going to be walking around moving mountains and hills around everywhere. However, as we grow in our faith in Christ, we can notice how he is working in our lives.
Perhaps, as you pray and grow to trust in God, the mountains in your life will not seem as insurmountable as they once did. We can find faith and assurance in our heavenly Father through our childlike faith and wonder.
Do you want to grow in your faith? Grand Canyon University provides you a place to grow in your faith while earning your degree. To learn about our theology and ministry degree options, click on the Request Info button at the top of your screen.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.