In this article, we will explore what does it mean to be a child of God and what it means to be childlike. So, grab your Bible and let’s dig in…
Disclaimer alert…you might not like what I say in the next section. But please keep reading and hear my heart.
It’s common to hear some churches make everyone in their congregation believe that they are children of God. This is not a reflection of what the gospel says. Many walk away from church after the Sunday service knowing that they are children of God but are not.
Arn’t we all automatically a child of God? And what does it mean to be a child of God?
John 1:12 is clear on who is a child of God. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
Those who are born again and have accepted Jesus into their lives are the children of God. The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).
Everyone is created in the image of God, but only those in relationship with the Father through Christ are children of God. Sadly, many attend church for religious or traditional reasons… tradition doesn’t make you His child. It’s faith and a relationship that does.
Besides being children of God, we are also to be childlike. Matthew 18:3 says that unless we change and become like little children, we will never enter the kingdom of God. Children are meant to obey their parents and be humble before them. As children of God, we are to be childlike before God.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this…
What Does Being a Child of God Mean?
As children of God, we are to be blameless and without fault in a crooked and perverse generation so that our light may shine (Philippians 1:14-16).
We live in the world but are not of it, and this means that we encounter evil as we get out there. We are not to engage in evil but to live godly lives that inspire others to go to Jesus.
Romans 8:14 tells us that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. This is the expectation that is upon us from our Father, that we follow the leading of His Spirit in our everyday lives.
God’s Spirit who lives in us guides us throughout our lives and we don’t have to wonder what God is saying to us.
One awesome thing about being children of God is that we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). This means that we have an inheritance from God and we access it through our relationship with Jesus. Through Jesus Christ, we have eternal life and spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms!!
Children of God have been set free from the bondage that the world suffers. The world longs to experience the freedom in Christ that the children of God have (Romans 8:20-22). Jesus has set us free from slavery to sin and has given us eternal life. Jesus sets us free from addictions, curses, and lusts that kept us bound before we gave our lives to Him.
Because we are children of God, He is our Father. Many times in the gospels, Jesus refers to God as Father (John 5:20). He was showing us that under the New Covenant, we will have a relationship with God as our Father. To the point, we cry out abba, which in our modern world is like saying daddy.
This paints the picture that He is not a distant God but close to us and cares about our everyday lives, including the tiny details. He is a loving Father.
So, just to recap here is a list of what it means to be a child of God:
- As children of God, we are blameless through the blood of Christ
- We live in the world but are not of the world.
- We following the leading of the Holy Spirit and bear the fruit of the Spirit.
- We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
- We have eternal life.
- We can experience God’s presence and anointing
- He has set us free from the bondage of sin.
- We can now have an intimate relationship with God, calling Him our Father.
- And the list goes on and on…Hallelujah!
What Does It Mean to Be Childlike in Christ?
Being childlike does not mean being childish or immature, which 1 Corinthians 13:11 describes.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
We are to leave behind childishness but embrace being childlike.
Jesus desires we become like little children who are trusting and don’t doubt. Children believe what their parents tell them and obey them without question. This is because naturally children trust their parents, love them and have their best in mind.
Matthew 18:4 says, “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
When we humble ourselves before God, trust Him, and obey Him, we will inherit the kingdom of God.
Having childlike faith means that we believe God’s Word without doubting it. We can ask God questions if we are not clear about something, but we shouldn’t dispute what His Word says because it is the truth.
This is hard to say too many because in our modern day everyone believes that their personal views are the gage for truth and have abandoned the idea of a universal truth like the Bible. If we are children of God, we have to lay down our personal views and find out truth and anchor in scripture. This doesn’t mean we don’t ask questions…
Children definitely ask a lot of questions because they do not understand something. If we are going to be childlike, then we can also ask God many questions to increase an understanding of His Word.
One other thing we can note about being childlike is that there are characteristics that children have that God wants us to embrace. Children laugh, forgive/love easily, don’t doubt, say what they are feeling, have lots of energy, creative, don’t worry, etc. These are the things that make children uncomplicated.
Sometimes we face issues in life that make us less childlike because they shake our faith. Difficult situations can make us doubtful, unbelieving, unforgiving, anxious, bitter, etc. When this happens, we can turn to God in childlike faith and ask Him to heal us and restore wholeness to our hearts. Many times, I pray to God to soften my heart.
God wants us to approach Him with childlike faith that shows that we believe in Him and trust that He has our best interests at heart. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to approach God’s throne with boldness and we can only do this with our childlike faith that expects an answer from God!
If you have struggled to see yourself as a child of God or to maintain your childlike faith, ask God to help you. His grace will help you see yourself as His child and Him as your Father. God may have seemed distant to you but see Him as your heavenly Father whom you can talk to about anything.
He longs to hear what is in your heart, even if you feel it is not significant. He wants to address all your issues so that you can live a life full of His joy.
As you yield yourself more to the Holy Spirit, you will become more childlike in your faith. As a child of God, you have access to your Father whenever you need to talk to Him.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…