Sunday, 8 January 2012

God's Passion for Children

“Beware that you don’t despise a single one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father. If a shepherd has one hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? And if he finds it, he will surely rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish”. [1]

As I reflect on this verse, I can see that God is passionate about children. Passion means fervour, delight, excitement, enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and devotion. He wants children and young people to be saved and have abundant life, He wants them to experience and know Him personally. He wants them to come to Him so He can touch their lives and bless them. A teacher friend of mine was telling me about her conversation with God concerning the students in her class. She was thinking of leaving the school because of the behaviour of some of her pupils but God was saying it was not yet time to leave. God told her how much He cared about those young people in her class. According to her, those words changed her perception, she now relates with her pupils with an understanding of God’s love for them. She rebukes them when they misbehave but she doesn’t hold it against them. Isn’t that the same way with God? He rebukes us when we sin but he doesn’t hold our sins against us.

A role to play

We all have a role to play in making sure our children have a personal encounter with God, we need to make sure that they know God for themselves. This is important because they need to be touched by God. The spiritual child is the child who knows God personally, a child who has received Jesus as his or her personal saviour.

“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God. Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them”. [2]

In order to ensure that children and young people’s lives are touched by God, we need to introduce them to Jesus by presenting the gospel in the language they understand. “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”. [3] We need to get the attention of our young people; they are looking for security in things or people to fill a void that can only be filled by God. Many of our teenagers are confused, they are dealing with issues that are greater than them. Some of our girls are dealing with low self esteem which makes them vulnerable to all sorts of abuse and unhealthy relationships. Our boys are joining gangs everyday because of insecurity and the need to feel important. They need to know that God is the true source of self-esteem, security and significance.

We need the Holy Spirit As we prepare to reach out to them, we need to seek God’s face consistently in prayer in order to release His power into the lives of our children and young people. Let us adequately prepare in prayer before our activities, classes or events. We need the Holy Spirit to transform their lives because we cannot do anything of lasting value by ourselves but our sufficiency is of God. We also need to pray for more workers in the children and youth ministry. He said to His disciples, “the harvest is so great but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields”. [4]

Children are not to be despised or looked down on. To us they might seem insignificant, like the lost sheep, but to God they are precious. He cares about every single child and wants to reach them with His love because only the power of God that can truly transform lives.

[1] Matthew 18:10 -14 NLT, [2] Mark 10:13 -16 NLT, [3] Romans 10:14, [4] Matthew 9:37-38 NLT

Best regards,

Dupe Makinde