Are you curious about the spiritual perception of a child? Do you sometimes wonder if your work in children’s ministry is making an eternal difference? Then read on for important insights about childlike faith.
D.L. Moody was one of the great evangelists in American history. His biography lists more than 1 million recorded conversions. After Moody returned from an evening of witnessing, a friend asked him about that evening’s occurrences. Moody replied, “Praise God. There were three and a half conversions tonight.”
“Three and a half?” his friend inquired. “You must mean three adults and one child.”
Moody replied, “No. Three children and one adult. The one adult only has half his life left to give, but the children have their whole lives ahead of them.”
Moody understood that reaching children with the Gospel is as important a priority as reaching adults. Moody understood the significance of each soul, no matter the age of the outer body.
Matthew 11:25 (NIV) records, “Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.’”
Exploring the Spiritual Perception of a Child
I’ll never forget a question I heard while in college. I was a part-time children’s pastor at a Minneapolis church. A mother told me her 3-year-old daughter had a question she didn’t quite know how to answer. The mom said she’d been a Christian for only a short time, so she didn’t know what to say to her preschooler.
I smiled confidently. I thought this would be easy. The 3-year-old approached, and her mother encouraged her to ask her preschool question. I knelt down smiling my all-knowing, educated grin. “Pastor Randy, I don’t understand,” she said. “If Jesus was God, and Jesus died on the cross, does that mean that God died?”
My naive smile vanished. I stammered a bit and finally shook my head. “Well, kind of…” I said. “You see, there are just some things we really don’t understand about God.”
I came to realize that children perceive more in the spiritual realm than we think they do. To perceive spiritual things, one need not be “wise and learned.” Fact is, often one’s own wisdom gets in the way of childlike faith.
Bible Insights About the Spiritual Perception of a Child
Who is most likely to have childlike faith? The answer is, “Probably a child.” Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 (NIV), “To enter the kingdom of God you must become as a child.” If this is true—and it is—then Jesus is encouraging adults to become more like children so they may enter His kingdom. Usually we fight to have it the other way around. We mandate that children act like little adults. We want them to become more like us, but Jesus is saying we probably need to be more like them in some ways.
According to Christ’s statement here, isn’t it fair to say that children are somehow closer to the kingdom of God than adults? God is able to reveal Himself easier to the simple, small child than to an adult with baggage. “To enter the kingdom of God you must become as a child.”