Why a baby?

christ_childWhy did the Creator of the universe choose to become a baby?

“… who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be a grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. ” (Phil. 2:6-7 NASB)

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. ” (Heb. 4:15)

Babies can’t sin, I’ve heard people say. Surely they aren’t tempted like adults are – after all, they don’t even reach the age of accountability until 12 or so!

Have they ever been around little kids? Toddler tantrums? Terrible twos? Self-willed children? Full of selfishness, greediness, me-me-me-itis? Did you ever tell a little child No, No, over, and over, and over?

As young as they are, and as trusting of mom and dad that they are, children are indeed tempted to disobey. Determined to get that thing, do that thing, apt to stomp their foot, yell and break into angry tears when told No for the umpteenth time.

While those early behaviors may not qualify to some folks as sinful, they still need correcting. Training. Discipline. Guiding. Teaching. Lovingly, lovingly, firmly and consistently.

Children can be led astray. They are susceptible to being misled, mistreated, deceived, cheated, and abused. Susceptible to being lied to, and also lying to others.

They need to know the savior, the rescuer, the teacher, the guide and constant companion from an early age.They need to be taught right from wrong and how to tell the difference. They need to learn the word of God, and know the Word of God.

Children need to know that Jesus went through childhood himself with all its scrapes and bumps, all its hazards, and he knows what that’s like. And so he came as a baby.

Jesus loves children. When the disciples wanted to shoo the kids away, Jesus rebuked the disciples, not the children.

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. ” (Matt. 18:3)  “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)

Was it because the children were so innocent? So charming, so sweet, so trusting, so loving – so innocent? Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe there’s more to it.

Children are curious. They are always attracted to something “new and shiny,” something different and fun. They are full of energy, running, climbing, investigating everything. Wanting to do it themselves. “Me do it! Me do it!” Wanting to have it for themselves, no matter who it may belong to.

So, why did Jesus come to earth as a baby, and not a full grown man? In order to be tempted in all points as we are, he had to.

(Originally published on 12-22-15.)

 

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Rebellion has consequences

DisastersWhy can’t I share something really uplifting, encouraging, hilarious, sweet, pleasant, funny, not more-bad-stuff-on-the-way gloominess? I asked the Lord the other night.

Of course, I thought in the back of my mind, I don’t HAVE to post what he tells me, I don’t have to share it with anybody. And, some of what he says is uplifting. Sometimes.

There are many times when I’d just rather keep these things to myself, because after all, few people are paying attention, that’s obvious. Just read the newspapers, listen to the TV nightly news, surf the web.

Then Jeremiah 20:9 will pop into my mind: “But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

Here’s what the Lord showed me the other night:

Remember when your children were young? You’d give them some instructions, something you wanted them to do, or not do. But they’d ignore you. Remember those times? What did you do?

You would devise consequences. Perhaps take away a toy for a while, or revoke freedom to do something they wanted like watch television, or go to a friend’s house. Nothing too drastic, but made to fit the situation. I’m not talking about simple mistakes or forgetfulness, I’m talking about rebellion. Determined disobedience requiring action.

Later on, as they were older, consequences for disobedience had to increase in severity, and if that still didn’t work, more severity. From withholding privileges, loss of allowance, to various kinds of restrictions, whatever had the best chance of success.

The laws of sowing and reaping were working then, as they always do. They are working now.

As I meditated on what he had said, I realized some things.

All of that necessary training, physical and spiritual discipline for my children, was to prepare their growing souls to function with self-control as adults. It was quite unpleasant occasionally… but it worked.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11)

And the Lord showed me, that is what’s happening in America. Warning after warning has been given. Disobedience and rebellion have been met with consequences, and the consequences have been increasing in severity. Unpleasant. Painful. Dire.

Fires. Floods. Famine. Disease. Lawlessness. The laws of sowing and reaping are still at work.

Consequences of rebellion cause anxiety, frustration and anger – even at God – for some who simply don’t or won’t believe His word (yet). But those same consequences result in repentance, prayer, intercession and pleas for mercy for those who do believe, some of whom had not been taking God’s word very seriously.

Is it time to quit warning people? That time will come one day, I know. It’s not time yet, but how much more severe do the consequences of sin and rebellion have to get, before people listen?

If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

Just suppose

Suppose America had its businesses, manufacturing plants, universities, museums, art galleries, concert halls, libraries, scientific and research laboratories, shopping centers, hobby shops – but had no sin? What else would be missing? Police and military. Jails and prisons. Sickness and disease, doctors and hospitals. Wouldn’t that be heavenly? I think heaven is a busy place, full of activity, learning and creativity, but there’s no sin, no sickness or disease there. Hmmm.