What is it about children that God loves? They represent the opposite of what the world esteems – status, ability, accomplishment. Therefore, the world does not have any value for them. But let us realize that to receive a little child is to receive Jesus, and to despise a little child is to despise Jesus!
Jesus gave a very stern warning about not causing little children to stumble (Matthew 18:7-11). Children are going to come across stumbling blocks in the world, so it is important that the church and every home represented in it must be the one place of safety for them.
We must be able to say to the children in our homes and in the church: “Imitate me as I imitate the Father.” So, whatever they see us do and say, they ought to be able to know that that is what the Father is like (John 14:9). We are not there yet completely, but we must constantly be pressing forward toward this goal.
- The hand/foot. So, for example, are the habits that you indulge in, things in which you can invite a child to partake with you? Can a child look at your attitude toward money and know that that’s what Jesus is like?
- The eye: Do you have a radical attitude toward lust? So, for example, is the type of music you listen to or movies you watch, something in which you can invite a child to participate with you. Are the jokes you tell the kind at which you can invite a child to laugh with you? Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to try to be holy because God said so — “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not.” Under the New Covenant, He calls us to be holy because He IS holy. So, “obedience” is no longer our effort to try to be holy, but is simply being “imitating” children by the power of God’s Divine Nature that He gives us (I Peter 4:14-16).
- The tongue: Children absorb much of what they hear, even subconsciously. Let us ensure that we are not a stumbling block to them by allowing in our speech any bitterness, wrath/clamor (how we speak to each other at home), slander (how we speak about others at home), complaining, (Ephesians 4:31; Philippians 2:14-15), etc.
- The heart: Let us be imitators of God in having a perfectly merciful, forgiving attitude toward others (Luke 6:36; Eph. 4:32-5:2).