To be told we are acting like a child is offensive even if it’s true. Being reminded of where we are spiritually can be, too.
21:2 A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.
Matthew made a point to talk about God as our heavenly Father four times in Matthew (5:48, 6:14, 6:26, 6:32). He also refers to God as His heavenly Father twice (15:13, 18:35). He also refers to us and His disciples as little children (His little faithless ones-6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20). I’m seeing a theme here, aren’t you?
According to Jean Piaget*, there are four stages of cognitive development. They are:
- Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years
- Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7
- Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11
- Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up
Could it be that we all live in the first years of the Preoperational stage spiritually? Let’s look at VeryWellMind and see what characteristics define this stage.
Piaget noted that children in this stage do not yet understand concrete logic, cannot mentally manipulate information, and are unable to take the point of view of other people, which he termed egocentrism.
During the preoperational stage, children also become increasingly adept at using symbols, as evidenced by the increase in playing and pretending.1 For example, a child is able to use an object to represent something else, such as pretending a broom is a horse.
Role-playing also becomes important—children often play the roles of “mommy,” “daddy,” “doctor,” and many other characters.
All of a sudden, the Bible’s metaphors and stories come into focus as to why they are used so much. It’s how God relates to us on our level! We’ll talk more on this subject tomorrow, but for today, let’s take a step back from what we “know” and realize that we are small children to God, that we are metaphorically in a nursery, and that our fellow humans are in there with us. It kinda changes how we view each other, doesn’t it?
Abba, (I love calling You that) You are my heavenly Father and I am Your little child. I relish the fact that You are particularly fond of me, as You are each of Your children. May we all recognize that we are young in our knowledge of You and Your world. Grow us up, Lord. We want to be like You. Amen.
*Jean Piaget-Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development (1896-1980)