In a family relationship, children play an important role and help contextualize the meaning of God’s government in the realm of human beings. We all understand, academically, that we are children of God, but adults think, reason, and act differently than children do. This is the natural progression of maturity.
As adults, molded by the realities of life, we tend to value reason and self-reliance. We can also complicate things that are inherently simple, questioning what we see and hear, and become skeptical – useful skills in a deceptive world. But these same skills can hinder our relationship with our Father and our elder brother, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ knew this would present challenges for adults when he addressed his disciples in Mark 10:14-15 (NKJV): “…‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’”
Understanding this child-like perspective is critical for functioning under the family model of government in the body of Christ. It is from the position of a child that we can best learn and develop under the tutelage of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Developing a child-like nature entails re-education, taking on and maintaining certain characteristics of a child in order to properly receive the kingdom of God.
There are several aspects of a child’s outlook to explore, but let’s focus specifically on “faith” and “truth.” A little child has faith by his or her very nature. He is dependent upon his parents and believes that they have his best interests at heart. Faith is a natural, uncomplicated quality of a little child.
There are limitations to this analogy, because physical families and parents are not perfect. Nonetheless, faith is inherent to childhood. As adults we have to work hard to achieve this state because doing so requires that we place limits on our human reason.
During times of uncertainty the natural thing for us to do is fret, worry, and ask, where is God in all of this? But, since God does not change and Christ is still the head of the church, they are both where they have always been. We can think of Noah, a lone preacher of righteousness in a hostile world, or Abraham, going to an unfamiliar land, never really receiving the promises. These are perfect examples of a child-like faith.
A second quality of a child-like perspective is truth. Truth puts demands on us, and the adult tendency is to make it relative, to rationalize and justify it away. In John 18:37-38, through the course of His trial, Christ encounters Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, and explains the nature of truth. Pilate responds to Christ with the question, “What is truth?” Unable, like most of humanity, to understand that truth really is that simple.
When a little child listens to his or her parents, what they hear is truth. And he or she will act upon that understanding from a pure perspective, whereas a teen or young adult, having more experience with a complicated world, may take issue with what they hear. As spiritual children, we can totally, absolutely, rely on God’s truth as the unswerving guide to our lives.
If anyone comes along with a crafted version of the truth, we should go back to our childlike perspective, being well versed in God’s word, and cock our head and say, “that’s not what my Father says. I know what my Father says, and that doesn’t agree!” Even if it comes at a cost to us, stick to what we know, as a child with his parent. That childlike frame of mind is of great benefit and can help us through many difficulties.
In a complex, sophisticated, ungodly world, we are well served to take on the nature of a little child. This is particularly important with regard to faith and truth, which are inherently simple, direct, and pure. These two qualities are our foundation as we seek the kingdom of God and interact with Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father. If we wish to enter God’s kingdom, we must put aside the complicated skepticism of adulthood, and become as little children.
By Bill Welch