As a young child, I started attending church in Gatesville, Texas. The First Baptist Church of Gatesville had a church bus that would pick me up every Sunday morning and I would attend Sunday School and then church service. My first Bible was a gift from the Sunday School teacher. It was a black King James Bible. In fact, I still have that Bible.
Like in most, if not all, Sunday Schools, I memorized Bible verses and learned children's songs. I even sang in the children’s choir. Although I wasn’t a very good singer, I could, at least, make a joyful noise to the Lord and praise Him.
Of all the songs I learned, one of the simplest was a song written by C. Herbert Woolston. Pastor Woolston, a Baptist minister, and his wife, Agnes, lived in East Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1880; and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1900, 1910 and 1920. He was the pastor of the East Baptist Church in Philadelphia around 1907. He, and George F. Root, worked together to create a very special little song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.
Although the hymn has several verses, Christian children around the world learn to sing the refrain. I am sure most, if not all, know this little song and it is very special to me. It reminds us that we all are God’s children. No matter what gender, color or whatever, we are all His children and, as His children, we belong to Him.
His son, Jesus, came into this sin-filled world to show us God’s love. Jesus made the love of the Father known to all. This simple message was something that only a few could understand. Over time, more and more began to understand that simple message of love.
Children and the way they look at life are truly blessings. When a child is born, they come into the world with little knowledge and require someone to take care of them. They are innocent and very naive. In time, they learn the sinful ways of this world. They are corrupted and seduced and soon find themselves wandering away from the Father. But, as Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, a person must be born again by water and the spirit to receive salvation. Nicodemus, of course, wondered how an adult could be born again. It was impossible for an adult to re-enter his or her mother’s womb. Jesus explained that it is a spiritual rebirth that needs to occur.
Jesus, in chapter three of the Gospel of John, put it this way, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
When we are born again, we are like little children and begin our spiritual growth. It is through the eyes of children that we feel God’s presence and experience His love for us. It is so very simple for a child to understand the love of the Father. Adults tend to question everything and overcomplicate things. As we grow up, we become more cynical and believe we have all the answers, but, until we learn to humble ourselves and accept the gift of salvation, our lives are simply one complicated mess.
Jesus, in chapter ten of the Gospel of Mark, admonishes his disciples for keeping children away from him, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
As His children, we have a very special place in His heart. Remember that He gave His only son as an atonement sacrifice for our sins. Because of that sacrifice, we are able to live eternally with our Heavenly Father.
John, in chapter three of his first epistle, writes, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”
The world does not see God the way we do. We, as Christians, know Him as “Abba Father”. Abba is the most intimate term that characterizes our relationship with God the Father. The loose translation of “Abba” is “Papa” or “Daddy”. This Aramaic word expresses deepest affection and childlike trust. When “Abba” and “Father” are used together, they doubly emphasize the fatherhood of God.
The world cannot see us as His children. The world can only see the outward appearance of us. They see race, ethnicity and all those things that are used to describe humans. But, when it comes to God, He only sees and loves His children. Nothing else matters. The only thing that does is our relationship with Him, His son, Jesus, and each other.
The love of God should always be something that we share by expressing it to others. We should love one another and care for those who are in need.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, in chapter five of the Gospel of Matthew, tells us, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
When you think about the words of Jesus and viewing the world through the eyes of a child, you realize that children do not come into the world hating anyone. It is something that they learn. When you are born again, you see the world through the eyes of a child. You do not make distinctions, rather you see people as brothers and sisters. It is easy to love those whom we like. It is quite another to love our enemies. It is so very difficult to do, but as the true children of our Father in heaven, we must love all.
So, I remind you of the words Jesus said to his disciples in chapter thirteen of the Book of John, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
God and his son, Jesus, love the children of the world dearly. As His children, we must love those around us and share the Good News. When we do all those things, we can definitely stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.