Too Grown for the Kingdom of God?

child imaginationOne day, as Jesus was teaching, some little children wanted to be near him. But the disciples, being annoyed by them, pushed them back. When Jesus saw this, Jesus said: “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.’ And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them.” (Mk. 10:14-16 NASB)

I read that text the other day and I realized that most of us are too grown for the Kingdom of God! Let me show you what I’m talking about. Do you remember when we were children, how it seemed like nothing was impossible? We believed we could fly! We believed we could reach the sky! We believed we could go to the moon! We believed that anybody could grow up to be the President of the United States! However, as we grew older and began to experience the “realities” of life, we lost our unlimited quality of belief and our lives began to be defined and limited by limitations. Now, that presents a problem in the matter of the Christian faith because there are no limitations in the Kingdom of God! Yet, many “Christians” are hampered by and live with and in limitations everyday because they have lost the “child-like faith” they used to have that allowed them to believe in what they couldn’t rationalize or figure out. Their “grown-ness” has robbed them of the faith they used to have that believed anything was possible!  

But Jesus said we must receive the Kingdom of God like a child in order to enter it! Now, when Jesus said this, I don’t think he was just talking about entering into the pearly gates at death. No! I think, when Jesus talked about receiving and entering in the Kingdom of God, he was talking about experiencing the benefits and blessings of the Kingdom of God! I believe he was talking about living in the Kingdom of God as a practical reality in our present, everyday lives! It takes child-like faith to do that! It takes child-like faith to act on, rely on, and count on something that the rational mind can’t rationalize! That is why so many people are missing out on the present-day realities of the Kingdom of God! In their rational minds, they can only process the future realities of the Kingdom of God! But the according to the Bible, we will not just enter the Kingdom of God when we die; we’re either in or out of the Kingdom right now! Paul wrote to the church at Colosse: “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Col. 1:12-13 ESV) Note that Paul said the deliverance from the domain (kingdom) of darkness and the transfer to the kingdom of his beloved Son (the Kingdom of God) was not something that God was going to do, but rather something God had already done! According to the Bible, those who are saved are in the Kingdom of God right now! But it takes faith; child-like faith, to accept and enter into that reality!

That brings me to my next observation about child-like faith! Children believe any and everything their parents or adults tell them! (At least they used too! Too many children today have even lost that child-like faith because they are exposed to too many adult “realities” too soon and/or they are trying to grow up too quickly!) I remember getting into an argument at school with some other children because of something my mother told me, that I took to be true, but it really wasn’t! (It wasn’t so much that my mother lied to me, but she understood that there were some things children didn’t need to know until they got older.) But I believed it, simply because my mother told me it was so! Now, as easy as it was for children of my generation to believe their parent’s word, simply because their parents said it, it is so hard for many of those same “children” today to believe God’s word, simply because God said it! Back in my day, we never questioned our parents! Whenever my parents told me to do something, I never dared to ask them; “Why?” But we are an “enlightened” generation now! Our children ask “why” and because we want to bolster their self-esteem and make them feel respected and valued, we waste so much time and effort trying to explain why! But even after we explain why; they still don’t understand! Our parents were much smarter and wiser than us! They knew, at such a young age, children don’t have the capacity to understand certain things and that trying to explain would only serve to further confuse the child! So,why is it so hard for us to acknowledge that the things of God are beyond our limited human capacity to comprehend and understand? Why can’t we just trust God, simply because He is God?

Children not only have unlimited faith to believe in what is possible and to believe whatever their parents or adults tell them, they also have unlimited imagination! Do you remember having an “imaginary” friend when you were a child? No one could see or talk to them but you! You saved a spot for them at the dinner table and you talked to them all day long! However, as you got older, you forgot about your “friend” and no longer talked to them. You focused all you time and energy on the imaginary “friends” and your eyes could see. But have you ever stop to think that maybe God gave us the capacity to believe in an imaginary friend as a child in order to prepare us to believe in Him as adults? God is Spirit! God is immaterial! God cannot be felt of touched by human hand! Yet, God is real! God is more real than the imaginary friend we had as a child! In the same sense, the Kingdom of God is real! It is the rule and reign of God! It is the sphere of God’s influence and power in the world all around us! But it takes child-like faith and child-like imagination for us to enter in and experience it!

Now, before you dismiss the idea of the imagination having anything to do with reality. Think about what your imagination really is! Your imagination is the “image in your mind!”  We really don’t function according to how things are, but rather we function according to how we “imagine” them to be! It is our perception (our imagination) that determines and shapes our reality! Everything we see, touch, feel, and experience in the physical was born in and produced by the imagination! According to the Bible, we were created in the image of God. Could one aspect of being created in God’s image mean we were created to use our imagination to create our realities? But in the process of growing up; we often lose the child-like capacity we once had to use our imagination! Thus in growing up, we often become too grown for the Kingdom of God! Too grown to have the faith and imagination required to experience the abundant benefits and blessings of the Kingdom of God. Too grown to live the abundant and fulfilling life God created us to live!

Just Your Imagination

imagination

I remember when I was young, I was afraid to go to sleep with the lights off because I would often hear noises that frightened me. I always thought the “boogie-man” was under my bed, but my mother would tell me that it was “just my imagination!”

Well, as it turned out, mother was right! It was, just my imagination! But, at that time, my imagination created the reality of fear in my life. So, although the “boogie-man” didn’t exist in the physical realm of my existence, he was very real in my mind! And because he was real in my mind, I exhibited the consequences of that reality in my physical world.

That is how the human mind works! Whatever we think about with intensity and emotion on a consistent basis in our minds eventually affects our physical reality. In fact, not only will it have an effect upon our reality, it will eventually become our reality. Now this works for better or for worst! We are constantly creating our “real” world in and with our imagination.

Now, in order for this to work for our benefit, we must be aware of the process and come to re-define some terms. From now on, instead of thinking of your imagination as thoughts of something that is not real, I want you to think of your imagination in terms of “the images you hold in your mind.” (If you really look at the word “imagination” you can easily see that the root word is “image.”) When we were young, we didn’t know how to control our thoughts and so our imagination would often run wild. But we must learn to harness our thoughts (the images in our minds) and think only of what we want and what would be beneficial in our lives. Most people don’t realize it, but it is possible to control your thoughts! In fact, if you want to have peace and harmony in your life, it is essential that you learn how to control your thoughts! If you don’t want something to happen; don’t think about it! Focus your thoughts on what you want; not on what you don’t want! The reason for this is because we eventually move in the direction of our thoughts and the object of our thoughts eventually make their way into our objective realities. Our minds are magnets, constantly attracting the objects of our thoughts (imaginations).

Keep that truth in mind the next time you hear someone tell you that you are just imagining things or it’s just your imagination. The images you consistently hold in your mind will eventually objectify themselves in space and time in your life! You will become what you think! So think positive thoughts! Think about what you want and not about what you don’t want! A good formula for directing your thoughts comes from the Apostle Paul who wrote to the church at Philippi in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (KJV)

Remember everything that’s tangible now was, at first, just someone’s imagination! Your present thoughts (the images you are presently consistently thinking and entertaining in your mind) are the creator of your reality. If you want to change your objective tomorrow, you must change your thoughts today because in a sense, your tomorrow is already here today; it’s just your imagination!