By E. Preston Smith—
It is not enough to be called a child of God, because mature people often feel no need of their parents’ care. They feel that they can care for themselves.
Jesus said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3, KJV). Little children are totally dependent on their parents for all things.
Total dependence on God is our lifelong need. No matter how old we are, we cannot be victorious Christians unless we are totally dependent on Jesus. In Hebrews 12:2, we are reminded that constantly looking to Jesus is essential all through our lives because Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith.” Paul writes, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be presented blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
I am learning about little children by watching the development of my great-granddaughter, who is an infant just learning to crawl and stand up. As she crawls, she puts her baby hands on everything she can reach and examines it. The baby has no idea of danger and must be constantly watched while she is free so that she does not hurt herself. The watchful care of her parents or grandparent is essential to her wellbeing and happiness. In like manner, every Christian needs to realize that, no matter how old we are, we are in constant need of Jesus and His strength and protective care.
Peter had to learn this lesson the hard way. When he walked on water as Jesus was doing, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus, who was watching him, pulled him to safety. Peter had not yet learned his lesson, for some time later, at the trial of Jesus, he denied his Lord even though Jesus had warned him of his weakness. At the very moment of his denial of Jesus, he looked at Jesus on trial and Jesus looked at him. The Bible says that then he remembered the warning of Jesus and his unbelief of Jesus’ word. At Jesus’ look of compassion, he remembered, and he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus forgave him. After His resurrection, the Lord took a walk with Peter and spoke of Peter’s death in the future. Again, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the disciple John and asked Jesus about John’s future. Jesus did not tell Peter what would happen to John; instead He reminded Peter to follow Him and keep his eyes on Jesus.
This is our own great need also. Looking unto Jesus, “the Author and Finisher of our faith.”
E. Preston Smith is a retired pastor who worked in Northern California for 20 years.