Do You Live Like a Third Child?

​We’ve been taking our dogs for walks the past few days since the weather has been so nice. My youngest has been making me a little crazy while we walk because he talks the entire time. It’s not just that he talks the entire time that bothers me, but the fact that when he is talking, he is not paying attention to anything else. So he trips over the dog he is walking (or one of the other two dogs), walks into trash cans out for trash pickup or walks the dog right through glass because he’s not looking down or around. I am not sure what it is exactly that isn’t working right, but as we were walking the other day, this thought flooded my spirit.
​My youngest is the third child. He is super smart and super discerning, but sometimes, I think he’s not as aware of his surroundings as his siblings because someone has always been there to take care of him. He doesn’t have to think about the fact he’s wandering a little far from the curb because hopefully someone will say something to him. He’s got some additional eyes on him, and someone is usually always eager to boss him around—I mean guide him—from time to time
I think some in the Church act like my third child.
We go through life the way we were told to go, but we’ve never stopped to truly understand what we’ve been taught or told. We nod our head when others around us are talking, but if we were put on the spot, we have nothing deep down to back up any of our head nodding.
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
(Ephesians 4:17–19)
​For some, we assume someone else is raising our children “in the ways of the Lord” when we deposit them weekly into Sunday school. We assume our “churched” friends are attending church because they truly desire to “draw close to God” rather than put on the appearance of being a churchgoer. We “hear” the sermon every week delivered by our pastor, but we never listen to what is actually being said and never follow-up with the Scripture references the pastor threw out at warp speed (that is assuming your pastor actually uses Scripture references). We rely on other’s “interpretations” of Scripture or what they “learned during their quiet time” instead of seeking the Lord for ourselves.
This is dangerous living.
As I was putting my youngest child to bed last night, we had a deep conversation about why God doesn’t allow dogs to live longer. This is kind of how the conversation went.

My son: “Why would God want us to have to see our dogs die so quickly?”
Me: I had nothing to offer except, “Well, one day when you get to Heaven, if you still care about that question, you can ask Him or maybe you can spend some time seeking Him and He’ll help you make sense of it.”
My son: “I don’t think I’ll care much when I get to Heaven, but I do care now. It makes me sad to think about it. I try and talk to God, but I don’t hear a thing.”
Me: “Hmmm…really? How much time do you honestly think you spend talking with God?”
My son: “Some. I mean a little. Well, not that very much I guess.”
He’s eight years old so I cut him a little slack, but I went on further to tell him that it doesn’t matter your age, God can speak to you if you spend time with Him.
My son: “I really, really, REALLY want to hear from God like others do. I want that!”
At that, my job for the moment was done. God says to seek Him with all your heart.
​Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:12–13)
​God has placed people around us to be our guardrails, but at the end of the day, we are held personally responsible for our lives and our choices. There is a time to be spiritually immature, but there is also a time we each must grow up and grow into our big girl and boy pants and be the children God has called us to be. We find all of the answers to go from being a spiritual baby to a mature believer in the Bible. Like a parent reading a “parenting how-to book,” we must read our Bible to discover truths about Him, truths about the world, truths about sin, truths about the enemy, and truths about ourselves.
Don’t allow others to let you walk around with spiritual blinders on. Discover for yourself who God is, who Jesus is, and what the Holy Spirit can do for you. Atheist, agnostic, believer in other religion or idol, even the life-long churchgoer—it doesn’t matter what you look like when you come to find Him. What matters is what you look like after you find Him.
​But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice. For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:29–31)

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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