It was about 6:30 a.m. when my grandsons Bryant (age 6) and Bradyn (age 4) were brushing their teeth before leaving for kindergarten and pre-school. My wife Lisa and daughter Ashley were watching and helping them to make sure that they did a good job instead of just putting a little toothpaste on their tongues just in case someone wanted to check them by smelling their breath. (Somehow little boys figure this little game out without any coaching!)
Unbeknown to the boys Mom, they had run out of their bubblegum flavored children's toothpaste the day before. Too late to do anything else, Grandmamma and Ashley explained to them that since they were such 'big boys' now, it would be okay for them to use grown up toothpaste until they could get more of their own.
Now, that sounded like a good idea at the time and proved that a little 'childhood psychology' could go a long way in making a little four year old boy poke his chest out and strut around like a game rooster! The problem arose just about the time the toothpaste got all foamed up in the brushing process and little Bradyn got choked on the strong taste and accidently swallowed some of the 'big boy' toothpaste. Just as he got his breath back and regained his composure, he looked at his mom and said with all seriousness: "Uh Oh. Jesus' got toothpaste on His head!"
Having absolutely no idea what Bradyn was talking about, Lisa and Ashley just laughed and asked "What did you say?" Before Bradyn could answer, 6yr old Bryant jumped in and said: "You know. Jesus lives in his heart so now He's got toothpaste on His head!"
How telling is it that such an honest and profound statement about the reality and an awareness of God's presence in our lives could not be readily understood by us as adults, but to the child that professed it and to another child who heard it, it was absolutely clear and made perfect sense without any further explanation? Bradyn did not hesitate to recognize and acknowledge, with some concern, that the toothpaste he accidently swallowed had landed squarely on the head of Jesus because he knew for a fact that Jesus lived in his heart. Bryant also understood exactly what Bradyn meant by his confession without having to think it through or ask for any clarification. He answered the questions of his Mama and Grandmamma for Bradyn, before Bradyn could respond. What the boys had been taught they had completely accepted as truth, and they professed that truth without hesitation or questioning. They believe exactly and literally that Jesus lives in their hearts--exactly what they have always been taught and have experienced for themselves.
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for what was to come after His crucifixion and resurrection, He told them: "If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be with you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:15-20). Jesus said again as He prayed to the Father just after the Last Supper and just before He went to pray and be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane: "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (John 17:26).
If Jesus promised that He (through His Holy Spirit) would live in the hearts of those who belong to and who follow Him, why would that thought of Jesus having toothpaste on His head in the mind of a child seem some strange to us? Why is it that they 'really' believe in and are aware of His presence in their lives when we as adults do not think of His actually indwelling us as He promised to do? We can fill our hearts, lives, minds and bodies with all kinds of evil and idolatry that we think God doesn't know about, but in reality we are doing those things right in His face, right where He lives! Perhaps we would be better off if we had the faith of a child.
Jesus said in His own words: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven." (MT 18:3). He said again: "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of heaven 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." (LK 18:16-17).
How would our lives as adults be different, how much more intimate would our relationship with our Lord be, how much worry and stress could be avoided, how much more peace could be ours, how much more of His power would be manifested in our lives, how many more lives could we touch for His purposes if we just had the faith of a child to believe that Jesus indeed lives in us and is always with us as a 'real' personal being? He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. How would our lives look if we were 'really' believed that truth and if we were always aware of His presence in our lives? What would our lives look like if really had childlike faith?
What if we just took God at His word, believed His promises and accepted the fact that He is the all knowing, all powerful, creator GOD? What if we just accepted the fact that He loves us and knows what is best for us without feeling the need to doubt, question, challenge, dilute, rationalize, reject or otherwise alter His Word to suit ourselves and our own desires and intellect? How would childlike faith change not only our beliefs but the way we lived our lives? How would it change our priorities? How would it change what we do in private? How would our families, vocations, time management and bank accounts be affected?
I remember an old bumper sticker that you may be able to take some shots at, but perhaps we ought to remember. It read: "God said it. I believe it. That settles it!" Maybe that kind of thinking and acceptance of the Word of God just as it is written would bring revival to our nation and our churches. However; we cannot believe and we cannot live out what we do not know. We need to read God's Word for ourselves and then like a child, believe it and live it out. All of Scripture points us to Christ, the Gift of Christmas. Accept Him as your own and allow Him to rule in our heart.