And said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 ESV)
Scripture presents two divergent perspectives of the state of “childishness” as it pertains to our Christian lives. Jesus often told us to become like little children (Matt 18:3). In other words, the childish state in this sense is beneficial and recommended by Jesus. However, we are told in the New Testament to grow up to maturity and not be babies or children in the faith (e.g 1 Cor. 14:20). These two views are not contrary to one another. They simply underscore an important principle to correctly interpret scripture: use context always to know what the author has in mind.
What is good about the childlike state that is so beneficial to our faith and relationship to the Lord? As I watch my kids grow, the reality of this truth becomes more and more evident to me. There might be many aspects of the childlike state which are commendable for the faith but the most prominent of all is the absolute trust and confidence a child has in the love and care of the parents. They are completely ignorant of all the reasons why their parents might not love them. It is a blessed ignorance. They know one thing: this is daddy or mommy. If when you discipline them, the place they go to for shelter is in your arms.
Very sadly, as we all age, the complexities of adult thinking step in to our own detriment. We become more aware of ourselves, our weaknesses, shortcomings, etc. This self-awareness begins to erode that innocent, pure and blessed absolute trust in the love of the Father.
There is a sense in which you should remain a child before God until your last breath on earth. Do not grow yourself out of this to the detriment of your spiritual maturity. Remain tender, always trusting and depending completely on the Father.
What are the different ways in which childlikeness is beneficial to our faith?
APPLY THE WORD
You should be a child in your believing. However, be mature in your understanding. Remain Papa’s boy and girl always in your trust. That was one of David’s secrets. His hope was in God’s mercy all the time even when he committed adultery. Remain in the blessedness of childlikeness.
Ask the Spirit to help you not to mature your way out of intimacy with God