5 Steps to Being Like a Little Baby with the Lord
Jesus promised everlasting life.
As we get older and our earthly bodies wear and tear, our spirits can be renewed every day because He is in us! This is a miracle and the best news!
Paul says it best:
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." - 2 Corinthians 4:16
Since Christ is with us moment by moment and our lives are tucked into His life, permanently secure for together-forever new earth vibes (Colossians 3:3, John 5:24), we can truly feel young and free and super fresh every day, even in the midst of pain. (!)
Jesus also said...
"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:3
While I'll be learning what this means for the rest of my life, ever since I came back to the Lord, I've literally felt like a newborn baby!
This is a curious thing to keep saying LOL, so I wanted to unpack it here in case it would be useful for anyone else!
Here is a summary of the 5 steps to feeling like a baby with the Lord (it feels so good!!), and we'll go through each one below:
- Know how loved you are by Him.
- Get to know the God who loves you so.
- Understand His design for human beings.
- Surrender all to get the treasure in the field.
- Bend gently to His lifelong pruning over time.
Let's dive in!
1. Know how loved you are by Him.
Christianity is about responding to God's love. His love already seeks you! He is CRAZY IN LOVE WITH YOU. This is the gorgeous merciful starting point of Christian faith... accepting how completely and personally precious we are to the very heart of the One who made the cosmos and our own miracle-of-life selves.
Interestingly, as human beings we can only love from love. We can't sustainably source love; we are too weak and we become petty and dry up if people aren't loving us back the way we want... unless we are receiving bucketloads and truckloads and an entire entourage of love every day from the Great Rescuer and Forever Lover of every human heart, including our own. (!)
To discover and internalize this love that God has in chasing after us, we can meditate on these Scriptures. This is like 0.00001% of all of God's love notes to you in the Bible!
For starters, He truly treasures us:
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who found a pearl of great price and sold everything he had to obtain that pearl." - Jesus, Matthew 13:46
Notice how the Kingdom of Heaven is the merchant! We are the pearl of great price. (!!) What?? I know!! So crazy. Let's do another:
"You formed my inmost parts in my mother's womb... Your thoughts towards me are more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashore... When I awake, I am still with you." - King David, Psalm 139
This little nugget is like a dreamscape. I love this whole Psalm. One more:
"The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." - Zephaniah 3:17
Okay, excited yet? He loves you so much. *Sooooo* *sooo* very much. (Soaking in this can easily bring tears!)
When in your day-to-day is best to explore, discover, and internalize all this? A wonderful schedule follows like this:
Checking in with the Lord...
- when you first wake up,
- at a midpoint in your day, and
- right before bed.
You can kneel, sit, or whatever you feel His prompting to do.
- setting aside a little (or a lot of!) time with Him every morning, in a special spot that you only use to talk with Him.
When you set aside special time with Him to read the Bible and pray and perhaps prayer-journal, this deepens your understanding and helps you receive His love even more, drinking it in!
Goodness knows, we need that living water fresh every day! (John 7:38) I can't get enough (part of being like a little baby = humbly accepting our need for Him!).
Once we receive God's unfathomable love for us (for more, check out the Psalms, the gospel of John, and Ephesians!), we feel the natural desire to...
2. Get to know the God who loves you so.
Imagine receiving a gift from a stranger. Wouldn't you want to know that stranger? To thank him, and if possible, to get to know him if he gave you such a big gift?
Receiving a gift prompts us to want to know the giver. In this case, having received the entire gift of life itself as a beloved creature welcomed into the family of God Himself is just beyond.
He's not just the gift-giver; he is the True Center to organize ourselves around. He gives us meaning and purpose (more in #3 below!). To seek Him, to know Him for *Himself* and not our limited preconceived notions... this gives us peace and truth, knowing our place in the grand scheme of things, which is tiny but so deeply loved by God Himself. <3
How do you get to know the God who created the cosmos eons ago, the God who has existed from forever and who has loved and pursued every human heart for ages and ages, including your own?
- Study him in the Bible.
- Seek out trusted teachers (I love Tim Keller, Ravi Zacharias, Ray Ortlund, and C.S. Lewis).
- Ask God about himself in private prayer, bringing your genuine thoughts and questions and concerns and fears to him. Have your Bible open in-hand, and let Him tell you about Himself; He is mind-blowing!
- Talk about him together in corporate discussion with people in your church and faith community.
As you do these things, you'll get to know more of His character (all-powerful, all-loving, extremely dignifying to human beings which makes me shake my head in disbelief how much honor He bestows on us!) and the story arc of His relationship with us, through the Bible.
Every morning as part of your time with Him, sitting down with Him for however much time you have (you may need to set an alarm for x minutes, or if you can have it open-ended you might like that)... let Him show you about Himself. He is altogether lovely, altogether gorgeous. Once we really start to see Him, we agree with King David in Psalm 27; we could gaze upon His beauty forever. (!)
"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." - King David, Psalm 27:4
He is the most beautiful.
Knowing God better, we then get curious to...
3. Understand His design for human beings.
Knowing how you were made and Who you were made for helps you to understand, well, everything. (!) It provides CONTEXT.
This is why God encourages us to seek wisdom. The whole book of Proverbs in the Bible is all about this!
God inspires us to seek wisdom in every facet of life, so that love flows from our entire being:
"Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." - Luke 10:27
Amazing, right? We need wisdom to live and love this way!
How do we get wisdom?
First of all, we can just ask Him for it. Casual!! ;)
”If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” - James 1:5
Such good news! Perfect for little babies... just ask! Yay!
Also, all of Step #2 above builds your wisdom. Additionally, here are a few helpful books you might like:
Proverbs: Wisdom That Works by Ray Ortlund (explains the book of Proverbs from the Bible beautifully, including its structure and its applications to different facets of life)
Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf (ties in Scripture with science to explain exactly how empowered God has made us to make life-giving choices)
- Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (fantastic book on how to best conceive of and relate to everyone in our lives, including God and ourselves; an excellent book for living)
A great time to build wisdom through learning is...
- your morning time with God,
- evenings if you like to read at night, and/or
- weekends if you like to read more immersively over a couple of days.
As we receive God's love, learn about His true (beautiful!) character, and find out more about how we were meant to thrive in his kingdom, our next step is to...
4. Surrender all to get the treasure in the field.
If becoming like a little baby with the Lord could be compared to a skincare routine, this step is the one that will get you truly baby soft skin! ;)
This is because surrender is freedom. It is so fitting for us as little humans to give our whole selves to the Lord. He is God and we are not, after all! This is healing balm to remember... it frees us from the constant grasping that our "old selves" do all the time.
By the way, if I were to personally count and tell you how much I forget God in favor of myself in any given day, it would be ridiculous! It is ridiculous, in fact!
Surrendering is repenting, which means turning back in the opposite direction towards the One who loves me and gave Himself for me, instead of marching to my own drummer literally not caring about Him or anyone else. (!!!!)
Surrendering-repenting is a breath of fresh air.
I feel like I'm in the spa, just thinking about it! And the more we do it, the better. Anytime is a good time to get on our faces before the Lord and tell Him we're so sorry... our sin is so gross and we need Him to clean us because we LITERALLY cannot even clean ourselves. (Notice the sense of humor that is liberating and helpful at times!) ;)
The bottom line of surrender is to be oriented towards His will, not mine. Him being greater, me being less. Tapping into the IN-LOVE-NESS that always brings surrender... the full "all in" vibes that the Trinity is sharing between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all the time and invites us into in a big way (Just check out John 15!)!
Here are a sampling of verses along these lines.
Jesus submits to the Father:
"Yet not my will, but yours be done" - Jesus, Luke 22:42
John the Baptist insists that Christ increase and he decrease in status, position, and honor:
"He must become greater; I must become less." - John the Baptist, John 3:30
Jesus explains how very valuable God’s (actively loving and invitational) Kingdom is:
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure buried in a field." - Jesus, Matthew 13:44
You can always ask God to point out any areas that would be good for you to surrender to Him now, and once you agree on any given area and your heart is willing, you can ask for Holy Spirit's help to surrender completely.
At night, you can reflect on your day and do this (that's a big repentance time for me some nights!), and you can also catch anything during the day from these CLUES:
- anything you're wrestling with in an anxious way,
- struggling with,
- afraid of...
The’d are all things to surrender to Him as His life in you increases and the old ways you were used to decrease.
This is a lifelong process, which leads us to...
5. Bend gently to His lifelong pruning over time.
Perfection comes through suffering.
Check out how this truth permeated Jesus’s own life:
"For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." - Hebrews 2:10
Even Jesus, who was already perfect in essence, had perfection still to be accomplished, and that was done through suffering. (!)
It would be ideal at first blush for this to NOT be how we grow, but alas... it is actually a beautiful process.
Reason being, surrendering to the Lord's hand in our lives, including any suffering that we endure (and lol that 99 of my 100 problems are from my own sinfulness! Seriously! I cause most of my suffering, personally), can help us feel truly relaxed.
This is because instead of seeking after a "perfect white-picket-fence life" which we can never fully obtain (and wouldn’t even like once we had the mirage of it) anyway, we are freed up via surrender to God who deserves our hearts (and has already given us His own per Step #1 above!).
Opening our hands to Him, letting Him do what He wants without reservation, actually helps us see clearly.
At the end of the day, there is one God and it’s not us! ;)
"God is in heaven and he does what he wants." - Psalm 115:3
Since we are His little babies, this is actually amazing news!
But how do we get here, to where we see His sovereignty as good and genuinely melt into an openhanded surrender to Him, even in pain?
First of all, the song "New Wine" encapsulates this gorgeously. I first listened to it on repeat while taking a rose petal bath in a hard time, and let me tell you... I won't forget it! I love bath times / shower times with the Lord!
Knowing that pruning is coming as a gift of love from His hand, expecting and accepting it over the duration of our entire lives, is so helpful.
It's kind of like with money or fitness or anything that isn't "going away"... when we embrace it as a part of our lives that existed before us and will continue to exist after we finish our lives on earth, we can settle in and become cozy with it, get to know it, get in sync with it.
This is how we can be with the Lord's pruning.
Here is what Jesus said about God's loving hand in our lives:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." - Jesus, John 15:1-2
So whenever you notice anything in your heart that is not submitted to the Lord, you can gently surrender it to Him, asking for his forgiveness, comfort, and guidance.
He will never, ever refuse you. He cannot deny His own nature, which is all-loving and all-merciful. He blesses the humble with His friendship! (See Psalm 25:14 and in fact all of Psalms and Proverbs!)
Surrendering and being like a little baby feels so good because it is inherently humble, even though we don't really think that word in the moment. We just do it from deep down because we see how He loves us and how powerful and caring He is.
This provides such a sweet security, to place God ahead of us, first in our hearts:
"I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." - King David, Psalm 16:8
In order to keep God on the throne of your heart (as a pastor once said, there is only room on our hearts’ throne for one!), you can keep yourself open to Him, intentionally.
Throughout your days and at night, you can record what God is teaching you in a prayer journal, and you can also bring these things to trusted Christian mentors.
Life is long, and the Holy Spirit is gentle.
In time, He will bring us home to Himself.
Until then, may He help you and me be like little babies before Him, opening our hands to Him without reservation, and taking everything He is and offers from His hand to our mouths!
Conclusion on being like a little baby with the Lord
What a privilege it is to know even a sand’s grain of the above! This is the freshest, truest, most beautiful reality there is: God reigns and loves us sacrificially, powerfully, deeply, forever and ever. Amen!
May God bless you richly in every way, especially in knowledge of Him and true heart-to-heart intimacy with Him. Thank you for reading!