Is Your Faith Childlike or Childish?

jordantmoody —  January 26, 2014 — 3 Comments

Is your faith childlike or childish?

the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies

For some reason the picture of this twitter account pops into my mind when I think about spiritual discernment

I tend to think spiritual discernment is for old people who need standards in their lives. Or I think discernment is for legalists who love discerning for everyone else how they should live their lives. Spiritual Discernment is the practicality part of our Christian lives. It is where the rubber meets the road. The problem with us is we don’t care to look to make sure the rubber is actually making contact with the road for all we know we could be burning out. Lack of discernment in a Christian’s life is no joke and in this case ignorance is not bliss. Just living your life waiting for the Lord to direct your sword to the door like you are Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride is not the way a mature Christian lives.

Here are few points from Tim Challies book that I found particularly poignant.

  1. Lack of Discernment is Proof of Spiritual Immaturity
  2. Lack of Discernment is Proof of Backsliding
  3. Lack of Discernment is Proof of Spiritual Death

The first point about Spiritual Immaturity is the one I deal with on a daily basis. I deal with teenagers who are by nature of their age, immature. Some are more mature than others but that is what you get in high-school and in fact all of life. We all know that spiritual maturity (or any kind of maturity for that matter) doesn’t come with age. Hang out with teenagers and a few of them may surprise you. Take for instance the readers of Hebrews. The author did not feel he could fully dispense to them the full truth because they could not handle it. They were still weaning on the milk and couldn’t handle the meat. Yet the book of Hebrews is still far to complicated for our short attention spans.

Heb. 5:11-14 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

“Ultimately, the scripture makes it plain: if you are not a person who exhibits and exercises discernment you are not a mature Christian.”

The recipients of this letter were like many Christians today who think that theology is a waste of time. What difference does it make, people ask, whether God is a Trinity or not, whether Christ’s righteousness comes by imputation or infusion, and whether regeneration comes before faith or after? What is important, they say, is that we get along with each other. Then they cite passages commending a childlike faith, as if that were the same thing as a childish faith, that is, one that is indifferent to or ignorant of the Word of God. — Richard Phillips

The cool thing about this whole thing is that we will never have it all together and we’ll never be able to figure it all out on our own through our own strength. Thankfully, God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is only through his direction we will find our way.

The good news: discernment is proof of spiritual life. Life means change. Changed more and more into His likeness made possible only through the Spirit’s power. Thank-you Jesus for perfecting your good work in us.




I'm a Pastor/Teaching Elder at Hope Fellowship Church in New Ipswich, NH.

3 responses to Is Your Faith Childlike or Childish?


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