There are many occurrences in the bible where the Lord’s disciples did not have it quite right, one of which remains quite captivating in our day and age. In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them“. This must have puzzled the disciples, yet they knew that their Rabbi was quite revolutionary. However, in a society in which children did not belong in the temple and in which boys were seen as heirs and carriers of the family name and girls as future wives, it was indeed a powerful statement. It is a childlike character that captures the Master of all creation’s heart. However, Jesus who came to change our entire perspective on faith was teaching His disciples and the whole wide world thereafter, that living in the fullness of God is about being childlike. In this cold, dark world being childlike is a challenge but think about it this way: If there were no children in this world, how sad, and dark would this world be? Children are pure joy: their little rolls and baby smell when infants, their delightful laughter, their colourful clothes, and their creative minds but above all, their innocence and childlike wonder are beauty and bliss.This is the character God wants us to develop to live well. This is the evidence that we dwell in His kingdom “…The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”. This is clearly what Jesus meant when He allowed the children to come to Him. In this piece, we would like to offer you three tips on staying childlike in an adult world.
Firstly, you need to develop this father-to-child relationship with God. Not only is He your saviour, your Lord, and your master but He is your beloved father. He watches your every step, listens to your every word, sees the tears, and longs to comfort you as much as to laugh and celebrate with you. When we are born again we see God as our Saviour, however, the relationship He wants to grow with us as it is portrayed in the gospels through Jesus, is one of a Father-daughter/son relationship. Your first step would be to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God as your Father. He wants you to see Him as Abba, Father. If your relationship was dysfunctional with your earthly father, this is an opportunity for you to rebuild this broken part of your life. Author of “Unraveled” Deanna Lorea said in one of her insightful videos “Most of us have a dysfunctional relationship with our fathers. I remember God told me you accept me as your Saviour but not as your Father. The role of your father seems more distant to you. Yet, I was your Father before I was your Saviour. It is not talking about physical characteristics, it is your identity. Born of ME and from ME”. As a result, we need to realise that once born again we are not only His physical reflection or His breath but the reflection of His spirit and indeed like father, like daughter/son. This knowledge will build more intimacy between you and your Heavenly Father.
Renew your mind: Be wise in goodness and innocent in evil (Romans 16:19)
As you may have observed, children rely on their parents for EVERYTHING. Sometimes, it overwhelms our earthly parents, but it never overwhelms our Heavenly Father. Indeed, God wants to be in our everything and anything. He does not mind the many “Why?” questions we mind from our little ones. He knows that these questions will be necessary for our minds’ renewal and our spiritual growth. The Lord loves our inquisitiveness and wants to give us more knowledge about Him, life, and loving others. Being a child of God is to be wise in our father’s affairs and innocent in the ways of this world. While studying the first few chapters of Genesis we see a God that never intended for us to know good from evil. He knew that the knowledge of good and evil has become dependent on one another when we sinned. In our words, you can never know what is good until you taste what is evil or vice versa. This is why when Jesus meets us we recognise His goodness and can never go back because we only tasted evil previously and we can now make a difference. This is why both fruits were on the same tree. However, God did not want us to see good for evil and evil for good, here is why He forbade us to eat from that tree. Consequently, in His entire goodness, He sent his son to change the narrative. He turned evil for good. In the end, as we know “It all worked together for the good of those who love God“(Romans 8:28). Consequently, we need to now close our doors to evil and make way for the light of goodness. We live in an era of goodness. Goodness will highlight the work of evil and will then turn it for good in our lives. This is the kind of childlike innocence God wants us to develop. Children can be testing, however, they are oblivious to evil. They “know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34) until they reach the age of understanding of good and evil. Here is why God has an abundance of Grace for children and us His adult children in the world. Once we come in the light of His grace we know the difference between true goodness and counterfeited goodness which is evil. This is what it means to be a child of God, we become innocent of evil and wise in goodness.
After God’s own heart
Finally, another way to remain childlike as, the one after God’s own heart, King David wrote beautifully in Psalm 131:1-3 is to keep our hearts in this way:
A song of ascents. Of David. ‘My heart is not proud, Lord, My eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; Like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.’
Keep your heart light in the truth of God, don’t be concerned by the affairs of this world, know that your Father holds it all together, and delight in the life He has given you. Laugh and love out loud! Finally, a personal tip, keep wondering about the beauty of creation. Travel and marvel with the One who created you, you will learn so much about the heart He has for others and so for you.
Words by Gassy Traore