Over the past two years volunteering with Redemption Kids Ministry, and now as the Director of Kids Ministry, the distinction between “childlike” and “childish” have become more apparent than ever to me. I normally work with the 2nd to 5th graders but I engage with all the kids from toddlers up to 10 year olds when we have the large group lesson. The childish behaviors are very easy to see: immaturity, selfishness, being obnoxious, stealing goldfish. These are the types of behaviors we hope children will learn to put past them and grow out of.
1 Corinthians 13:11 tells us,
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
As we become adults, it is important to give up childish ways so we can build better relationships with others and handle more responsibilities.
This childish behavior is contrasted with “childlike” behavior in Luke 18:17.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
I love seeing this aspect of a child’s faith when we share the weekly Bible lesson. The children take in everything being shared at face value, from Moses parting the Red Sea to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, simply because they know we serve an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God. It just follows that God loves us and is able to do all of the things in the Bible.
The outflow of this childlike faith is that children have no inhibitions asking God to do the same things he did in the Bible in their own lives.
As we grow and mature in our faith, it is vital that we leave behind the childish behaviors that cause division and stunt our spiritual growth. Instead, embrace the fact that God is in control and will direct you when you call upon him.
I encourage you to be more childlike. Trust fully in God and take him at his word. And if you need an example to follow, feel free to come down to the Kid’s Ministry on Sunday Mornings and learn from the kids.