But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
In our Father’s Day sermon at Bethel this past Sunday we looked at the example of children – little children – and the somewhat shocking assertion by the Lord Jesus that small kids possess qualities of character that are highly esteemed in God’s economy.
Child–likeness is the condition of being without pretence or hypocrisy, displaying humility, an appetite to learn, and a default-setting of joyfulness. “A child is cognitively uniquely placed with a humble heart to be corrected and adjusted”*.
However, as we pursue child-likeness we must never revert to that which is puerile, silly or trivial, juvenile – in a word, childish.
When writing to the faith-community at Ephesus, Paul provides instruction on service, growth, unity, faith, and accurate doctrine in the local church – all of which combine to ward off stunted growth, or childishness.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14).
Notice what the apostle is warning against, wanting the believers at Ephesus to move beyond:
- immaturity (“we will no longer be infants”).
- instability (“tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching”).
- gullibility (“by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming”).
So the healthy Christian experience is a balance of maturity and child-likeness.
Takeaway: May we, by the enabling power of the Spirit, recognize and cultivate in our own lives conditions for the constant growth of each.
*Joe Boot, Why I Still Believe, Sovereign World International