How “Joy” and “Belief” and “Grandchildren” are all related
Derek Maul
by Derek Maul
Published on July 6, 2022

How “Joy” and “Belief” and “Grandchildren” are all related

By Derek Maul


Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3

This week’s key devotional word in my house has been “Joy.” It was appropriate, then, that we had the grandchildren all weekend. Happy is one thing, “joyful” is another. These kids do joy.

What I’m talking about is the kind of joy that is accessible, and that serves to help get a difficult news week in perspective. I think we can all learn from “childlike belief.” It’s not the same as childishness, and it is not naiveté.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: Not too long ago some preacher – he was one of those patronizing “I’m so much more experienced and wiser than you” types – told my wife Rebekah that her approach to ministry (her optimism and her positive, encouraging, all-things-are-possible-in-Jesus approach) was “naïve”.

Her response was pitch-perfect: “After all these years in ministry, seeing God’s hand at work in three amazing congregations, I don’t think naïve is the right word. The word you’re looking for is ‘believe’. I believe!”

We talked about this in my Sunday-school class. Believing isn’t an act of will, it is a choice of the heart. Belief is a powerful choice because it engages spiritual resources naïveté is unacquainted with.

It hasn’t escaped me that children tend to access these resources more naturally than adults, and in consequence they are more familiar with real joy. But don’t for a moment think such belief is lost to us. Not a chance, because in Jesus God has opened the door for us all, and following Jesus provides a ready invitation for anyone to enter in.

So let’s all pay more attention to the child-like faith that bypasses the cynicism and the angst that confronts us daily. Then take some time to redirect our possibly rusty, or tired, or cynical approach to faith. We will be glad that we did.


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Derek is a North Carolina-based writer, journalist, teacher and speaker. He is the author of numerous books on what the Bible reveals as essential in becoming a man of God.

He is convinced that his four grandchildren are exactly the hope and promise that this world needs. His conviction is important to understand because it reveals a lot about his theology, and how he believes our identity as God’s children plays out in the day-to-day experience of living in a world where darkness, disappointment, and defeat are all too common.

He is a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life. His passion is to connect people – men and women – with a more vibrant, authentic experience of what he calls “The Life-Charged Life.”

If you would like to read more, check out his author page at Amazon. Also check out his website and his daily blog.

Reading Between The Lines, With Derek Maul is published every Wednesday on Christian Grandfather Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Barb Hegreberg

    I agree, grownups can take the simplest of things an twist them into an over complicated mess.

    Why, oh why, do we do this to ourselves.


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