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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 29 : Despise Not Little Ones | Day 200

Bring Little Ones to Jesus!

With great anticipation the young couple looked forward to the birth of their first child and prayed that he would come to know the Lord at a young age. The day their son was born, the new father took the baby in his arms and told him the Gospel story.

One day, when he was about three years old, the little boy was outside playing and disobeyed his mom. As she lovingly corrected him, he told her, "Mommy, my heart hurts." She recognized that it was the Holy Spirit convicting him of his sin, so she took the opportunity to explain how Jesus died to pay for the sins of the whole world and how each one of us needs Him to be our Savior. Thinking he was too young to really understand, she "planted some seeds" about salvation, but left it at that. However, a few days later the son came bounding up to her and exclaimed, "Mommy, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and He did!"

Initially, the parents questioned whether or not such a young child could really comprehend salvation and respond to Christ, but as time went on they began to see clear evidences of God's working in his life. More than 20 years have now passed, and this young man continues to have a vibrant, growing relationship with the Lord and is involved in full-time Christian ministry.

Jesus did not forbid children to come to Him when He was on earth, and He won't forbid them now that He is in heaven. (See Mark 10:14-16.)

The best time to begin bringing little ones to Jesus is while they are still in the womb. Studies show that a child can respond to sounds outside the womb by at least the seventh month. This was the case with John the Baptist, who leaped in his mother's womb when he heard the voice of Mary (see Luke 1:44). Studies also indicate that whatever a child hears in the womb, he will more easily understand after he is born.

A wise father will read the Scriptures to a child while he is in his mother's womb. This not only lays a foundation for the child to be able to discern truth with his spirit, but it also trains him to recognize the voice of his father.

After a child is born, his parents have the God-given responsibility of training him in the way he should go. (See Proverbs 22:6.) This training would include teaching him the Scriptures, praying with him and for him, and leading him by example to obey Christ's commands.

Children do not "belong" to parents; they belong to the Lord and are entrusted to parents to be trained in the ways of the Lord.

It is reported that nearly half of all Christians in the United States accepted Christ by age 13. I myself was saved as a child--the first time I heard the Gospel. Children have the humility, faith, and teachability to be born again by the Spirit of God. Let's recognize that it is never too early to begin teaching them about Christ so that they can come to know Him personally.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard