North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

There was an evangelist conducting a revival service in the mountains of North Carolina. An older woman of almost 80 years old was in the congregation. When she stepped forward to accept Christ as her Savior, the local pastor got excited. He turned to his deacons and said, “Just wait! You’ll see what this does to the rest of the family.” And he was right. Through the influence of the grandmother, other members of her family came to know Christ. What she did was set the pattern for her children and grandchildren. The power of the gospel has that kind of effect on people. An eight (8) year old can come to Christ just as sincerely and genuine as an 80 year old.
The Bible makes it very clear the importance of child-like faith. Mark 10:14-15, “…Jesus said, let the little children come to me. Do not stop them. The Kingdom of God is made up of ones like these. For sure, I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, does not go into it.” A child’s faith is powerful, effective, and completely relevant to eternal life. Faith in their earthly father and heavenly Father is important for kids. A child can be mightily determined with the use of faith.
I recall the faith of my own daughter, Anna Marie. When she was barely four (4) years old I had planned to compete in a local 5K road race in Pensacola. It was the Great Pumpkin Run held annually in November. She had seen her Daddy run and win many times. So, since she was Daddy’s little girl, she thought she could do it too. I told her, “Ann-girl, it’s a long race I’m not so sure you can finish the whole thing.” She said, “I can do it Daddy! I can do it! You have to run with me.”
On race day she was up before me and ready to go. Arriving at the race site I decided to let her run the Kid’s One Mile Fun Run instead of the 5K, since it was her first race. There were over 300 kids in this race and she was not intimidated one bit. She had faith she could do it and she had faith her Daddy would be by her side if she needed help. While I was winning the 5K, she watched with my parents. She came running over and said, “Now, it’s my turn.” When the starting gun was fired she took off like a lit fuse on a firecracker. I was one step behind her.
When we reached the half-way point and turned around she looked at me and her eyes told me she needed encouragement. I told her, “You’re doing great! You’re going to finish this race!” She was four years old and just ran a half mile without stopping. This was impressive in itself! We went a little further and she said, “I’m tired Daddy.” She didn’t stop, but she started to walk. I encouraged her by saying, “It’s OK Ann-girl, you’re still moving and headed to the finish line! Keep going! You can do it!” A few steps later she said, “I’m gonna finish. But I need your hand.” Hand-in-hand we approached the finish line and with about 100 meters to go, she let go and said, “OK, I can do it by myself!” And she did.
This little story of faith is about a little child believing in herself and believing her Daddy would help her. We can learn from this. Our heavenly Father takes great delight in helping His children. And we need to have faith in Him to save us and to give us all the abilities we need to be a success in this life and to finish the race set before us. But it takes faith; child-like faith.
Child-like faith is needed by all of us in today’s perplexing society. God is pleased when we receive Him “as a little child”. A child’s faith might be described in four (4) ways: 1) A SIMPLE Faith. “Whosoever, therefore should humble himself as this little child…” (Matt. 18:4). Little children come to their parents in simplicity, aware of their own lack of strength and wisdom. They depend on their father and/or mother to meet their needs. We must also come to our heavenly Father in simple child-like faith, depending on Him to meet our needs also (Phil. 4:19); 2) A SINCERE Faith. In a world filled with dishonesty, bribery, and greed, it’s inspiring to observe the sincerity of children. They bring their requests to their parents with complete confidence and without pretense. We can learn many things from a child. We, too, must come to the Lord just as we are in child-like sincerity. He will receive us, redeem us, and reward us (Eph. 6:7-8); 3) A SUBMISSIVE Faith (James 4:7). To “submit” is “to yield to the power, control of another, to defer to another’s judgment or decision”. Little children must yield to the control of their parents. Their safety, education, and future depend on their submissiveness. Christians are filled with God’s love and empowered for service (Rom. 12:1-2); 4) A SECURE Faith. The Bible says, “Fear not; for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am your God…” (Isa. 41:10). Children feel safe and secure when they’re with their parents. They’re care-free and courageous in their presence. Our relationship with our heavenly Father is the same. His presence diminishes doubts, dissolves dread, and dispels defeat. Child-like faith brings security (Heb. 13:5-8).
Children and youth are part of the church today, not just tomorrow. I believe in them and feel a strong responsibility to help them. My encouraging word for all youth comes from 1 Tim. 4:9-12: “…this is what they must do. Let no one look down upon you because you are young. Show other Christians how to live by your life. They should be able to follow you in the way you talk and in what you do. Show them how to live in faith and in love and in holy living” (NLV). Be sure to go to church this week, be faithful, and follow God in all your ways.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Jan 20 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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