Having known the Lord personally throughout my childhood, I know that children can experience God in a deep way. But God has continued to remind me just how important their view of God is.
And having summoned a child, He set it in their midst, "Truly I tell you," He said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4 BSB
Many people know how to come into salvation as a child, but not many know how to stay in that place as a child in the kingdom of heaven. We focus on learning things to begin with, then we fall into a complacency of thinking that what we know about God is the only way it is, all the time. Our God-view becomes quite narrow if we follow this pattern, which I am sure we all have at some point. We become set in our ways like an old man with a strong dose of man-pride. Yet the kingdom is upside down. If we want to go higher, we have to position our hearts lower still in humility before God. Our hearts need to remain, pliable and soft to the hands of the Master Potter.
The best way I have personally found to have a soft, teachable heart is to continue learning new things. It requires and almost forces you to stay humble. I find that God is always enlarging my scope and teaching me new things. To keep learning is good for both the soul and the spirit. Becoming lifelong learners keeps us alive on the inside.
One time I was leading a children’s church when we had a guest ministry. I was looking after the children who were over ten years old. Before the speaker began, the children and I discussed the many diverse ways we hear, see and experience God. As we discussed the different ways that God is experienced, I was amazed by the stories and encounters that they have already had. It honestly never ceases to astound me just how much they are open to receive from God. They are able to hear God, know His voice and become familiar with His ways.
I worked in schools with young children, a few years ago. One day while taking a small group of students on an errand, the following conversation took place with a five year old student.
"I think God wants to talk to me," the student said very thoughtfully, as though consumed in her own thoughts.
I was quite surprised by her spontaneous question. Nothing had been said to prompt this comment. So I replied, "Oh?! And what is He saying?" in such a way as to show interest while not drawing attention to what she was saying.
She responded with a faraway look in her eyes, "I think God wants to talk to me."
"So, did you listen? What did He say to you?" By now my heart is melting at the innocence of the child. I wanted to encourage her to follow through with what she was picking up.
The student seemed to not hear me. She said one more time a little more decisively, "God wants to talk to me."
We had then completed our errand and the children were distracted with other things. I knew that God was showing me something here about the simplicity that children connect with God. He draws their hearts and they feel the call quite strongly.
They have no inhibitions to approach Him. They have soft and gentle hearts to learn new things. They are constantly trying new ways of doing things and seeing things. They do not stop learning. This is the same way that Jesus said we need to approach the things of the kingdom. God has created the heavens in such a way that they are only accessible to those who are able to become like children in the way we approach God’s kingdom.