Childlike Faith and Spiritual Maturity

There is something about Childlike faith that is honorable, praiseworthy, and worth emulating.  But it would be wrong to suggest that we ought to stay in a childish state of our spiritual development. We ought to grow our spirituality. There seems to be a difference between childlike faith and childish faith

Becoming spiritually mature is also honorable, praiseworthy, and worth emulating. Are the two really all that different? Do they conflict and contradict? It definitely creates some tension as one tries to make sense of the seemingly contradicting phrases.

What is childlike faith and how is that different from childish faith?

“And become as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah 3:19

“Become as a little child.” 3 Nephi 11:37

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

“Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” Luke 18:17 (see also Mark 10:15)

What is it about little children that is morally honorable to emulate? The reality that they are eager to learn and teachable. The are not stubborn (of course children can be stubborn). But there is a difference between eager to learn and eager to please.

I think sometimes kids conform easily and are obedient because they are eager to please and desirous to receive praise and love. It gives them a sense of belonging and of mattering if they do what pleases the adults in their life that they want to be loved and accepted by.

So I think their willingness to trust and their eagerness to do what is right is honorable. But as we develop our spiritual maturity we should grow out of our childish faith, that part of us that is driven to do good things for love and acceptance, and to be just as eager to do good things for a higher reason.

Childlike Childish faith is typically driven by the need for approval whereas Mature Childlike faith is about creating goodness and not being driven by the need for approval, but being driven more by the desire to create goodness. Childlike Mature faith “is not self-indulgent and self-serving, rather it’s based on basic honesty and decency.” 

With a Childlike Mature faith you are more able to discern between right and wrong. It’s a deepened ability to make good judgments which has been developed by acting upon their best judgment, even when they have been wrong. A Childlike Mature faith is about pushing yourself to think about what you really think is right and fair, rather than depending on others to tell you. A Childlike Mature Faith becomes more focused on making decision based on creating goodness than making decision based on how others feel about your choices. There is still a consideration and caring about what other people feel and think, but that is not what is driving your actions. Childish faith is driven primarily by what other people feel right, with mature childlike faith, what other people think is not as important in your decision-making process, as it once was.

I remember as a elementary student I was so eager to be a good student because I loved to receive praise from my teachers. Within the Church we are encouraged to follow the prophet and listen to our leaders and follow their counsel.

July 30, 2019 Thursday

Today: 1 hour

Total: 2 hours