CHRISTIAN CHARACTER PART 2
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDHOOD.
1 John 2:12-13. The apostle John writes this letter to all age groups in the Lord. He writes to little children (infants), children, young men and fathers.
To the young children he says “Your sins are forgiven for His Name sake”. This is a time where you are exploring, testing, trying out the new skills of sitting up, standing, walking, talking the Word all by yourself. It is also an adventure of quick learning by trial and error. There is a whole new world in the Spirit to be discovered and the excitement of discovering overrides the pain of any mistakes!
Children want to run before they can walk and jump before they run and in so doing often fall on their faces. Falls and flops are normal in the development of children. This is exciting for their Heavenly Father and ‘spiritual parents’, who are very aware that the children’s faults and failures both past and present are forgiven as they grow and develop.
IMPORTANT. God the Father does not inhibit and suppress the growth of His children but allows freedom and grace to grow.
E.G. Thomas Edison, after months of experimenting to develop
the light bulb and after thousands of failures eventually perfected his first
bulb. He gave this bulb to an assistant who carefully and painstakingly took it
up some stairs to the storeroom. Along the way he tripped and the prized first
light bulb shattered on the floor. Many weeks later after completing the next
Our Heavenly Father does not entertain a failure complex that stunts growth by refusing to allow mistakes and expecting perfection. We need to do the same!
KNOWING THE FATHER.
Little children have a healthy growth development when there is a good, strong relationship with their fathers.
A healthy, personal relationship with the Heavenly Father is the first priority for believers in the childhood stage of growth.
THE FATHER FIGURE.
It is vital that every growing child have a father figure in their life for there to be a healthy development in all areas of life. ! 1 Corinthians 4:15-16; 11:1. This is someone to relate to, who will understand hang-ups and problems without being judgmental and critical and expecting perfection; someone who has compassion and provides wise counsel and help. Someone who encourages, comforts, exhorts and disciplines for their good.
IS THIS NOT A PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER?
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN.
Children are inconsistent due to inexperience and lack of practice. They struggle to stay with goals and pushing through to finishing what they set out to do. They need the help of more mature family members to learn this lesson.
Children are sense-ruled and judge God and His Word by what their senses and circumstances tell them. There is faith when all is well, there is doubt when all is bad and there is unbelief when all gets even worse! Children need someone to show by demonstration how things work. That is why those who are mature have a responsibility to not neglect those children in the Lord. CHILDREN DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LIVE UNLESS THEY SEE A TRUE EXAMPLE.
Children are unreliable and irresponsible. Responsibility has been defined as the ability to respond to any given challenge and see it through to the end/full completion. If a person cannot finish a task it will discourage, demoralize and could even paralyze them. Luke 9:62. That is why they need attention and supervision.
Children forget. They do not easily remember what is taught to them, especially if they are overloaded with information. James 1:23-24. God takes us one step at a time. “Precept upon precept and line upon line, here a little, there a little”. Isaiah 28:10. This is why children need repetitive instruction until they grasp things properly- not with the head but with the heart/spirit. The spirit man must have Spirit revelation for any growth to take place. John 8:32. The goal is to encourage spiritual children to feed themselves on the diet of God’s Word. If children had their own way they would eat only candy, ice cream and pizzas and then suffer from malnutrition. Children must be disciplined to eat the things they do not like for their own good.
Similarly, a young believer in the childhood stage prefers to latch onto favorite, isolated verses and neglect the whole Word/Counsel of God. Having those verses as a foundation is great but they will need to learn to expand to the rest of Scripture and have a balanced diet of God’s Word.
Children over-commit to want to do everything in their zeal until they “are
burning the candle at both ends”.
Children confess beyond their faith. They make bold confessions of faith
beyond their faith ability for things to take place. It is like a child who will climb to the top of a tree with great enthusiasm only to find out that they cannot get down. That’s when help has to come from above and below!
Children are curious. Matthew 5:6. Curiosity is defined as a desire to find out and know things. Children have a strong curiosity that leads to discovery, experience and skill. They will ask endless questions- good questions, stupid questions, puzzling, confusing and even embarrassing questions that make you think and research! Children are hungry for knowledge. 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Curiosity can also be dangerous. Electric power points, hot stoves and heaters are dangerous things to be curious about. Children need to discover the purposes of those things under supervision.
Spiritual children also go through a similar period of dangerous curiosity.
They need to be instructed, warned to avoid the false doctrines of men, religious traditions and friendship with the world.
Children are impressionable. Children are moved by the spectacular, exciting and out of the ordinary. They are blessing seekers and hero worshippers who easily stumble when heroes fall and ‘blessings’ disappoint. 1 Corinthians 3:4. They need guidance to keep their focus on the only One Who is truly spectacular, exciting, totally out of the ordinary and the Ultimate Hero and Blesser!
Babies are self-pleasers and children are man-pleasers. Children will do things to be loved, accepted and praised. Spiritual children do the same, and at this stage of their growth there is nothing wrong with that.
Every stage of growth looks forward to the next stage, which is a wonderful part of growing up! The goal is to move on towards maturity in Christ Jesus our Lord.