My granddaughter, Audrey, is a toddler. None of us expected this adorable blue-eyed angel to be such a strong-willed, independent, fearless tomboy. It’s all hands on deck to raise this mobile bundle of spunk.
When tots resist adults and refuse to obey, the defiance is often called, The Terrible Twos. Audrey’s toddler ways, however, taught me a sobering spiritual truth. As I compared Audrey’s behavior to mine, I knew I often spoke, thought and reasoned like a child.
THE STRENGTHS OF A CHILDLIKE HEART
I’m not an authority on child development, but after raising a few kids, I know there’s a teachable season. Their lives are like wet cement. Children are malleable because their hearts are full of trust and dependency.
Jesus encouraged us to become like children so our hearts would be malleable and continue to find spiritual maturity. Read Matthew 18:3-4 New American Standard Bible.
…Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary explains these verses:
The strength of a childlike heart is humility and dependency on God. Pride will harden our hearts, and like dry cement, we will have to chip away the unprofitable areas that hold us back from God’s best.
THE CHALLENGES OF A CHILDLIKE HEART
Defiance is resistance and disobedience, and not limited to children. This is what hit me smack-in-the-face. Read what Paul had to say about spiritual growth in 1 Corinthians 13:11 NASB.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
The key words were “used to.” I have to admit in some areas of my life; I’m still in the present tense.
God’s natural power is our supernatural encounter with God that helps us mature. We do away with childlike talking, thinking and reasoning. I realized I often say the wrong thing because of pride, think a bad thing because of fear, and reason the wrong thing because of selfishness. To God, I must look like a spiritual tot saying, “me, me, me!”
THE JOURNEY OF A CHILDLIKE HEART
Aren’t we the same way? We are redeemed and secure in Christ surrounded by his love and knowing He will meet our needs. But what about in-between? Is there room for maturity?
When I see Audrey testing the boundaries, or wanting her way, I’m thankful for her reminder, We’re on this journey together, girlfriend. I’m too old for spiritual tantrums. As my church often says, “It’s okay, not to be okay,” but God doesn’t want to leave us that way. May we all be found faithful.
Are there any areas in your life that could use a bit of spiritual maturity? God will lead you through the process with loving compassion, but if you need a little extra help, babysit a toddler.
Have a blessed weekend!
Hughes, R. B., & Laney, J. C. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.