Written by Danielle Gerbitz / March 2017
I have a boss who likes to tell new employees two things about me when I first meet them. 1: I started out as a pretty bad waitress. 2: I’m very naive. He’s not wrong on either account so I usually just roll my eyes and shrug off the comments. But as I think about the second one – that I am naive – I start to wonder if that is a good or a bad thing, and how it compares to having a childlike faith. In a world where being sheltered is generally considered negative, I naturally lean toward that response. But as a Christian, do I want to be naive?
To be certain, there are differences between naivete and having a childlike faith, but they may often go hand in hand. Childlike faith, the Lord tells us, can move mountains and is worked in us by the Holy Spirit to save us. So, because of my childlike faith, I trust that Jesus died and rose for me; I can be naive and still hold that faith dear.
First, I will focus on the positives of my naivety: As I just mentioned, since my childlike faith lets me trust in the promise of my Savior, I don’t need to worry about anything else. We are told in Matthew 18:3 that it is important to become like children, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” In addition, Ephesians 5:10-12 tells us to remain naive towards things that are sinful, “Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”
… challenging my faith is something I often fail to do. If I have doubts, I just trust that the answers I have grown up learning are in the Bible somewhere. I rarely challenge myself to go looking for them myself.
But is there a negative side to my naivete? While we are told as Christians to have an unwavering childlike faith, God also tests and challenges our faith to strengthen it. James 1:2-3 reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” In 2 Corinthians 13:5, we can read again about the importance of testing our faith: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” Unfortunately, challenging my faith is something I often fail to do. If I have doubts, I just trust that the answers I have grown up learning are in the Bible somewhere. I rarely challenge myself to go looking for them myself. Maybe it is because I am too naive, too trusting. Maybe it is because I have convinced myself that I just do not have time to go looking for answers, and maybe that is why God gave me such a childlike faith. But when have we ever been told, in the Bible or by our pastors, teachers, and parents, to put our faith on the back burner?
I pray that my childlike faith never goes away. And I am grateful that I have never had doubts strong enough to lead me to look for life’s answers in places other than God’s Word. But I also pray that God uses trials to make me challenge my faith; to make me question what I have been learning for as long as I can remember and to go looking for His answers in His word for myself. For as Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” In doing this, may He give me an even more childlike and unwavering faith.