Raising children is tough, but worth it. Raising spiritual children to be spiritual adults is just as rewarding.
1 Whoever loves discipline [a spiritual adult] loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction [a spiritual child] is stupid.
16 Fools [spiritual children] show their annoyance at once, but the prudent [spiritual adults] overlook an insult.
Children are beautiful. They see things as black and white; most cannot detect subterfuge. Yet, that is exactly what the enemy uses against Christians who are still small children in their spiritual walk. Let’s go over again the characteristics of spiritual children:
- Self-centered and self-absorbed
- Sometimes prideful
- Sometimes having low self-esteem
- Interdependent (depends on others for daily needs)
If a Christian is not careful, he will stay in this stage indefinitely. Satan would dearly love to keep all Christians from maturing in Christ. and, unless a person is actively trying to grow in Christ, the tendency is to stay self-centered, making everything about him. In fact, he will remain so self-absorbed that he doesn’t notice other people’s problems or needs. Children also can have a specific idea of how things should be regardless of facts and circumstances; it’s pretty difficult to argue with a child. He will either strike out at you or pull into his shell, depending on whether he is prideful or has low self-esteem. The fact is, he can’t function in his Christian walk without outside help.
The best thing for a spiritual child is for him to practice the disciplines:
- Studying prayer in the Bible and then practicing it;
- Reading the Bible to gain overall insights;
- Studying the Bible to gain spiritual truths;
- Sitting under teachers that can explain mature and complex spiritual truths;
- Being with other Christians to practice the fruit of the Spirit so that he can shower them on unbelievers;
- Experience struggle;
- Experience victory!
The problem with most spiritual children is that they cannot recognize that this stage is where they are. Then, when it is pointed out to them, they dismiss it out of hand because they feel it’s not necessary to grow. They are fine the way they are. I am SO glad that Jesus loves us where we are, but that He loves us too much to allow us to stay there. It’s the same with spiritual children. We must keep leading them, guiding them, coaxing them, and loving them into a closer relationship with Jesus.
It is true that experience is a great teacher, but unless the Holy Spirit is involved, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. Let’s pray for humility, patience and direction as we work with spiritual children. It’s gonna take a lot of each!
Abba, goodness, gentleness and patience are three of the fruit of the Spirit. Please give them to us as we deal with spiritual children. May we never give up on them. When we lose our tempers, may we immediately apologize and begin again. Every time. Give us eyes of compassion–Your eyes, Abba. Jesus, work through us to grow the children You have placed in our care and to equip them for Your service. Humility, direction and faithfulness are more fruit that we will need from You. Thank You in advance, Lord. Amen.