Through an understanding of the family model of government, we can more clearly understand our relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father. In the family relationship, children play an important role and help contextualize the meaning of God’s government in the realm of human beings.
Adults think and reason differently than children do. In some ways, this is a good and natural progression, as Paul mentions in his letter to the Corinthians.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)
However, in the spiritual growth process we can inadvertently leave some important things behind. Jesus Christ discussed this with His disciples.
“Then they brought little children to him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘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’”. (Mark 10:13-15)
Two characteristics of a child’s nature are of particular importance. We can understand them more clearly if we view them from the perspective of a child.
Children have faith by their very nature. A child is also dependent on its parents, accepts that dependency, and believes the parents will provide what he or she needs. Children also believe their parents have their best interests at heart.
When the future is uncertain and we are confronted by the realities of this world, the normal, adult response is to fret and worry. A child-like perspective more readily accepts God’s preeminent position and direct involvement in their lives.
This understanding is important as we live in and deal with an uncertain world. God does not change and Christ is still the head of the Church. A child would see this more clearly than an adult might.
2. The Truth
Like faith, nothing is more fundamental than the truth. God’s word is truth and we can mentally understand and accept that. However, adults tend to view truth as malleable and subject to interpretation, and may have difficulty in accepting the truth for what it is.
A child naturally accepts what he or she hears from their parents as true and then acts upon that understanding. Adopting this perspective will allow us to rely upon God’s truth as an unswerving guide to our lives. We will also be able to identify and avoid humanly crafted versions of the truth.
In a complex world, we would be well served by adopting the perspective of a child with regard to faith and truth. Both are essential in receiving the kingdom of God. If we wish to enter it, we must become as a little child.
By Bill Welch