A child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head

By Dave Henning / February 20, 2017

Dad (right) standing by B-25B Mitchell bomber on airfield in Burma.  Note the distinctive “greenhouse”-style nose.

“Christ wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.  He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have . . .”- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“I, therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of your calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”- Ephesians 4:1-2 (ESV)

Named after US aviation pioneer Major General William “Billy” Mitchell, the B-25 Mitchell served in all  theaters of World War II.  This twin engine, medium bomber first gained fame in the Doolittle Raid that attacked mainland Japan on 18 April 1942.  In that raid, sixteen B-25s took off from the carrier USS Hornet. Taking place four months after Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid lifted American spirits and alarmed the Japanese.  They considered their home islands impregnable by enemy forces.

However, in Burma the versatile bomber adapted to the jungle environment.  The B-25 emerged as a formidable strafing aircraft, using the preferred method of low-level attack.  In addition, the plane attacked Japanese communication links, especially bridges in central Burma.  After the war, many B-25s remained in service, spanning four decades.

Walking in your desert, land between time births the fear that taking a “lesser” calling potentially stunts you for life.  In Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller argues that “everything we do wrong . . . stems from a conviction deep in our souls that there is something more crucial to our happiness and meaning than the love of God.”  In addition, modern culture strengthens this mindset.

According to Yale philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff, today’s culture defines the happy life as a life “going well.”  As a result, experiential pleasure equals the happy life.  In contrast, the ancients understood the happy life as a life “lived well”.  Therefore, character, courage, humility, love, and justice prevailed.

Hence, as you journey toward the next season in your life, Tim Keller offers three biblical sources to light your way.   Using these sources requires a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.  The Bible, then, teaches that wisdom accrues from several sources.

  1. We must not merely believe in God, but know Him personally.  In other words, God’s gracious love becomes a living reality.  An abstract doctrine carries little impact.
  2. We must know ourselves.  The gospel show us both our sin and God’s love for us in Jesus.  Thus, the gospel keeps us from over- or underestimating our own abilities.
  3. We learn wisdom through experience.  Experience teaches us precious little without the knowledge of God and self brought to us through the gospel.  However, the gospel empowers us to deepen our knowledge of human nature and relationships

In conclusion, pastor and counselor Jack Miller reminds us God will prevail:

“Cheer up.  You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”

About the author

Dave Henning


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