It’s time to grow up! This is typically heard by all of us as we reach the height of adolescence and being our trek into adulthood. The words, however trite they seem, are quite poignant. As Paul stated, there is a time that we need to put childish things away and become a man (or woman). Yet , Paul’s exhortation was shrouded by contextual love. If we think about it, there must be some aspect of being a child that is good, otherwise, why would Yeshua tell us that we should have child-like faith; moreover, it is people like children who will enter into heaven.
So, how do we grow up while maintaining quality child-like character? It’s a balancing act, to be sure. On one hand, we are faced with the realities surrounding us. Some are hard, life-focused paradigms, which Torah instructs us to fulfill. When we leave our Father and Mother and cleave to our helpmate, we are faced with providing for a new family with all that entails. Moreover, if men of YHVH do not provide for their own household, they are worse than an infidel (1 Tim. 5:8).
In Matt. 18:2-4, Yeshua admonishes, “And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, ‘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.'” This is where we gain the insight of having faith like a child, as the concept is expounded on in Mark 10:15, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of YHVH like a child will not enter it [Heaven] at all.”
If we put this into perspective, we can understand several points. First, children are young, vulnerable, and need protection and nurturing. In similar fashion, Adam and Chavah were placed into the Garden and told to tend it, cultivate it, and nurture it. Later, Yeshua tells Peter to tend and feed His sheep. In other words, we are to have dual roles: to be children and accept nurturing and tending, all while being grown up enough to tend and nurture others when we see their need. As many can attest, there are lots of folks in the assembly of YHVH that have a hard time receiving positive attention, just like there are many in the body who cannot give proper, positive attention.
There is a balance to this. As children of YHVH, we need to have the faith He has placed within us to recognize His provision and sufficiency; yet, we are also to be mature in Yeshua to know there is plenty to go around for all. Inasmuch, freely giving to others by nurturing their needs shows maturity in love and mercy, knowing we can be filled up by the Master once again.
As a lifestyle, most of this knowledge comes by not being a child, but growing up from childhood. We learn from the hard knocks of life that there is more to our lives than ourselves. Yet, we harden hearts from those around us, from being vulnerable or showing our faith, because of the hurts inflicted upon each of us be others who do not comprehend YHVH’s love for them or others around them.
Being a child in the Kingdom of Heaven is to look to the Master for His hand of providence, yet being able to lead others to that same hand. It is trusting, relying on the Master’s touch, and freely giving others the same love He shows us in order to be Yeshua’s hand and touch to others. Being YHVH’s child means we accept His discipline and repent, learning from the experience and growing from it. Most adults are reluctant to accept discipline in their lives, especially when it comes through someone else. But that is not childlike qualities that gains access to the throne room.
The Father requires us to love mercy, walk humbly and to do justly. This expectation is leveled at us for every aspect of our lives, not just prayer time or around the dinner table. It involves practical application at every corner and obstacle. It is a balance of not being so merciful that we tolerate sin, but loving mercy as we would want to receive it. We must have a humility about us that exudes so that others see Messiah and not our own flesh. Our motives must be shelved and His work must flow through us. And, all of it must be accomplished in just measures. By not showing partiality based on status or having dishonest gain, we are to live our lives in a balance of what is right and fair to others while being just to our own behaviors.
Child-like living is a place where we must choose to come back to, all while leaving behind childish behavior. It is not back-sliding; rather, it is stepping into faithfulness and remembering that we cannot outgrow YHVH. Our accumulation of wealth, knowledge, wisdom, or truth must be tempered by the child-like motivations and vulnerabilities that Yeshua deems beautiful. It is here that we will hear the Master calling for us to come, being hugged by Him and loved upon.