… Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 19: 14 (ESV)
Why did Jesus deliver this gentle reprimand to his own disciples who, themselves, had just scolded a group of parents for disturbing Jesus because they had brought their children to him to receive His blessing?
Christ Jesus is infinitely aware of the yet unblemished innocence and eager wide-open hearts and minds of his beloved children. Young children have inherently uncluttered hearts and minds that willingly accept what they hear and see. This priceless, but often exploited quality is what is so profoundly wonderful and yet ever so fragile about children. Children will freely receive Jesus into their hearts and show no fear in voicing their experience as they live in a conscious state of innocent audacity. And to their fertile young hearts and minds, belief in God and all the wonders he heralds, are as real, if not more so, than the tangible but, more perplexing world that surrounds and confronts them daily.
Sadly, from their youth, this ability to convey heartfelt belief in God is too often suppressed by, otherwise, well-intentioned parents. Children are, more often conditioned and subtly programmed for the approaching demands of a harsh and demanding world. Worse still are those parents who offer no loving intimacy or wise council at all to their children. And while children have the lucid spiritual capacity to see, hear, and touch Jesus in the sanctity of their own hearts and minds, it is instead, the multiplicity and weight of worldly and parental expectations that typically exerts the greater pressure for dominion over their lives.
The key to establishing and building a lasting foundational relationship with God, from our youth, is to grasp the vital fact that from the strength of our belief we are empowered to operate victoriously in this world drawing on all the righteous resources granted us as citizens of his kingdom. And while truth is foundational to the Kingdom of God, it is but a virtual reality until spiritually recognized and made personally relevant and meaningful in our own lives.
If, in our youth, we were never personally introduced to Jesus to begin our amazing eternal journey together, we may find it challenging to develop an equally empowered capacity for faith than that which is inherent in children. We can, however, consciously endeavor to become openly transparent and honest enough to cultivate that same level of faith and honesty that can help to liberate us from the hounding influence of doubts and fears.
For it is the guileless purity and trusting forbearance of our heart-of-hearts that matters most in the Kingdom of God, not a swollen sense of spiritual self-assurance, strength of character, or internal fortitude. It is clear that the Golden Key to unlocking the Kingdom of Heaven is an open, expectant, and contrite heart empowered by a securely anchored belief in the promises and faithfulness of Christ Jesus.
As perceptive rational adults, we must eventually come to realize our crucial need for an open receptive heart before God. For at some pivotal point, we will discern the clear choice that exists between the fleeting pursuit of hollow earthly passions and the eternal joy, peace, and prosperity found only in the Kingdom of God. The human heart simply cannot savor and serve these opposing realities simultaneously.
This is the critical point in life where having established a youthful communion with our Lord and Savior becomes priceless. For God, the Father, will honor our faith by imprinting the eternal value of all truth and love upon our heart-of-hearts. And once having entered the soft interior of our heart, his Word will never vacate.
Unless our belief and trust in Christ Jesus are regularly exercised, however, that life-enriching connection, while deeply imbedded, may gradually fade from our consciousness under the relentless pressure of worldly concerns.
Just how important is it to maintain a direct connection between our heart and God’s through Christ Jesus? What does the Word of God say about this? Jesus makes it clear.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me … and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10: 27, 28 (ESV)
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15: 5 (ESV)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3: 20 (ESV)
We should faithfully and lovingly demonstrate the immeasurable value of our eternal faith and hope to our children throughout their youth and during their challenging formative years by consistently resting on God’s promises and faithfulness. In doing so we are demonstrating the vital importance of establishing an unshakable foundation of faith within their hearts before worldly temptations and cares invade to satiate them. For no concern of ours is ever too small or trivial to call to the loving attention of Christ Jesus.
Righteous practices and habits developed in our youth are, therefore, key in maintaining a direct-line of open communication with Christ Jesus throughout our lifetime. Over and over again, when crises arise or when we just want a loving word of assurance, we can confidently call on him, just as David so often did.
For in spite of David’s turbulent and challenging life, he was considered a man after God’s own heart. Why was this? It was because David had a heart-to-heart connection with God from his youth that he never abandoned.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Psalm 71: 5 (ESV)
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 71: 17 (ESV)
Even Solomon, David’s son, in his wisdom, said;
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22: 6 (ESV)
And finally, David emphasized this invaluable lesson learned from his youth that encouraged and sustained him during his often stormy, but ultimately victorious lifetime.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word (Conforming His Life To It)
Psalm 119: 9 (ESV with Amplified Bible addendum)
Dearest Heavenly Father, as your beloved children we ask that you cleanse our hearts and minds to be as pure and uncorrupted as those of innocent young children. Allow us to see the eternal virtue of abiding in your truth and love that thoroughly unites your Kingdom, so clearly, that we can fully embrace its uttermost reach and project its powerful influence with the grace and mercy inherent in God’s perfect love, steadfast devotion, and infinite wisdom. Amen.
A F Fischer