What A Kindergartener Taught Us

Jeff General

Driving back from Sunday lunch many years ago as a family, Amy, Alicia and I learned something amazing about Landon who was five years old at the time. The little fellow dropped some stunning news about himself upon us and we were unsure of how to respond. Landon declared form his car seat that day that he had the ability to see directly through walls and into the all of houses were passing. Yes, you heard me right, my five year old son had been given X-ray vision. Amazed, we asked him to indulge us and tell us what he saw within the homes we were passing. A ranch-style home had nine televisions. One house nestled along the woods apparently had a hidden second house within the walls of its exterior — two houses in one and nobody would have ever known were it not for my boy’s superhuman ability. Another had cats, dogs and birds living within — he could not detect any human occupants there, only animals. Landon catalogued for us several homes between Russel Road and Calvin Davis Circle and we learned a lot about those people who lived there. According to Landon, people like to walk in their homes without much clothing. His big sister, Alicia, wanted to know if there were any limitations to Landon’s X-ray vision. He quickly informed her that he was unable to detect hedgehogs and turtles. I’m not kidding. He never cracked a smile, not did he ever confess to making the story up. With a kindergartener’s straight face, he seemed to be daring us to disbelieve what he was saying that day.

After Amy dropped me back off at the church that day she later informed me that Landon’s prowess was further explored by the three of them all the way home as he continued to declare what he was seeing through brick, siding, sheetrock and metal. His mother’s maternal instinct went up, and Amy sensed that perhaps the boy was looking for some affirmation of his value, so she reassured him that she had known he was special ever since he came into the world. Landon pondered her words in silence and then said, “Ok, mommy. You knew I was special but you still didn’t know that I had super-powers.”

My son was convinced that he could see through walls. I brushed up on my parenting skills before he hit middle school, wanting to ensure that Landon did not decide that he could also leap tall buildings in a single bound. He is now a teenager who has given up on his superman status. We still think he is super-awesome though.

Landon’s desire for greater power reminds me of this truth: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us {2 Corinthians 4:7}.” We were never intended to be powerful in and of ourselves. One of the great paradoxes of our faith is that we enter into the power of God through the acknowledgment of our own innate weakness. Spiritually speaking, we have zero power on our own which yields lasting results, we cannot know God in our own power, and we will not be saved through our personal accomplishments. Our personal morality outside of the Gospel is as valuable as filthy rags, and we must own up to this great lack in ourselves before we ever experience candidacy for God’s delegated power. Not only do we not have super-powers…we don’t even have sufficient power in and of ourselves to be who we must be nor live as we must live.

Paul goes on to remind us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10,

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

This is the testimony of a redeemed person who is learning what it means to be strengthened by God. To find the strength which God offers, we must live in the crucible of affliction which provides for two necessary components to victorious living. Component #1 occurs when the fires of difficulty and affliction cause us to reach the end of self-trust. Paul mentions affliction, crushing, perplexity, persecution, and being struck down – have you ever been there in life? In circumstances like these, an individual will see that they are insufficient to live in their own strength and upon their own resources. We find we need something more. We need a super-power which we cannot locate within ourselves. Component #2 occurs simultaneously with number one; as self-trust is being removed from our potential vault of resources, these same flames of trouble bring out all the buried, unknown impurities which have found their way into our lives.

Difficulty in life has a clarifying effect upon the believer. The stupor of easy, self-focused living sedates our soul instead of sharpening it. Hot tempests shake up the spiritual sediment in our hearts and, when it rises to the top, God will remove it like slag from gold in the furnace. All our self-reliance, self-delusion and self-love no longer has place in our lives because something greater is forcing it out.

That something is the presence and power of God.

God’s power is not something you should request to be added to your own. God’s power replaces your power. There is no place in your life for a co-regent; Christ alone must rule and He is not interested in supplementing your strength…there needs to be a coup in your life wherein Self is dethroned and exiled, as Christ is welcomed to reign. Herein is the power and strength that the human heart desperately craves and undeniably needs. Something within us seems to want to help God out a little. We would like Him to be the octane-boost in a tank filled with the fuel of our own abilities. A little dash of Jesus will do ya! Except that it won’t. Jesus does not offer periodic doses of Himself. Lordship does not work that way. After twenty-one years of full time pastoral ministry, I am convinced that a majority of Christians operate according to their own resources and treat God as if He is that little something extra that gets the Christian over the hump. Satan and his demons are not actively involved in as much as we think they are. They don’t have to be. They have worked hard in the past to join our churches, fill our pulpits and write our bible studies so that the result is several generations of Christians have adopted a theology of hustle more so that surrender. We think we can see through walls. It will be an awesome season wherein there comes a revival of humility, acknowledgement of dependence upon the Holy Spirit, repentance from trusting in lesser loyalties, and an outcry from the Church for God to pour out His best upon us for His own glory.

You know that my son can’t see through walls. He was five years old when he came up with that little nugget. At five years old, he was allowed to be that silly. You’re not five anymore nor am I. I wonder if we still believe we have enough power to achieve the impossible – a life that brings glory to God and consummate satisfaction to us. Do we believe we can muster up some super-endowment that will make us holy and happy? Be careful of the subtle tendency to ask God for His gracious power for life, but then to immediately seek to answer your own petition by looking within your own vault for the power to make it a reality. If you’re going to look for anything, look for a crucible with a fire underneath. We find His strength right there.