Deepening our childlikeness

Most of us love being spontaneous, being childlike. Certainly, whenever we express pure creativity and joy, the good we feel and do helps bring heaven a little closer to earth. Children, as we can easily see, express these qualities naturally. And we are reminded that Jesus told us we must be as little children in order to enter heaven.

Indeed, any true desire to express childlike joy has much in common with the hope expressed in II Peter: ''We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.'' But the writer doesn't tell us that the new heaven will come about when adults revert back to the ways of childhood. He says, ''Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.'' n1

n1 II Peter 3:13, 14.

In today's society, diligence is not always looked upon as a childlike characteristic. Mary Baker Eddy n2 writes: ''In the figurative transmission from the divine thought to the human, diligence, promptness, and perseverance are likened to 'the cattle upon a thousand hills.' They carry the baggage of stern resolve, and keep pace with highest purpose.'' n3

n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 514.

We may not want to be thought of as stern. But what if diligence, promptness, and perseverance are necessary qualities to express before a new heaven and new earth can be ushered in? How, then, would we feel about them? That, presumably, would depend on how sincerely we desired something higher. What kind of price are we willing to pay? Answering that question might enable us to separate in ourselves the childish from the childlike; to distinguish more clearly between false, self-serving desires and the genuine desires that ''keep pace with highest purpose,'' that help us to better express the truth that God is Love.

In H. G. Wells's novel The Time Machine, the future world is depicted as a place where carefree, childish creatures play, eat, and sleep, and really have very little to do or think about. But, as Wells shows, this is a false utopia. We're told, as the story goes on, that beneath the earth's surface live inhuman beings that are in constant conflict with the surface dwellers.

Not exactly heaven on earth. Compare this with Isaiah's prophecy of a time when all creatures come together in harmony - led by ''a little child.'' n4 There will be no evil, for God's intelligent love will be discerned as the only presence, power, glory. And the childlike thought able to receive the revelation of Spirit's ever-present harmony is not weak or immature. It is both diligent and spontaneous, strong and humble.

n4 See Isaiah 11:6.

We needn't be afraid that expressing diligence or decisiveness will rob us of our childlikeness. Because our original and only selfhood is actually the spiritual, complete manifestation of God, it's natural for us to express every aspect of the divine nature. Diligence quickens us. Indeed, if we don't learn to express God-derived strength and perseverance, it is difficult to maintain our joy and innocence.

Christ Jesus' earthly healing and saving mission lasted only three years. And he accomplished an incredible amount of good in that short time. The New Testament is filled with the beautiful healing and brilliant teaching he did. Yet we never get the impression that the diligence he expressed interfered with the loving he did. Quite the contrary. He never stopped loving, never let humanity down. No one ever kept pace with highest purpose better than he.

Any diligent expression of good is blessed of God. This blessing will be felt - will bring with it peace, new energy, a more conscious sense of integrity. It will deepen our childlikeness. And so, it will help us a bit toward seeing that in our real being as God's offspring we are already within the new heaven and new earth that He, the infinite All-in-all, has made. DAILY BIBLE VERSE He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

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