What Every Child Need. . .
When a child enters the world the first thing it needs is the love and attention from his or her parents. This attention to their needs, loving touch and bonding build security into the child. This security provides safety for the child to grew properly.
. . . Not Every Child Receives
NPR just released a story on a man who was born into a Romanian orphanage. In the 80’s and 90’s, these orphanages provided very little care for the orphans, many of who were left in cribs for days on end. When the world started finding out about the situation, there were 100,000 children in these institutions, and it became clear that they had a wide range of mental and emotional problems. “Without someone who is a reliable source of attention, affection and stimulation the wiring of the brain goes awry. The result can be long-term mental and emotional problems.”
What Does Every New Christian Need?
What became clear for me in this article is how new Christians are the same way. The first thing they need is to know how to connect with their Heavenly Father. They need to know how to hear His voice and to see how attentive He is on them.
Most follow-up material teach the disciplines of the faith. While I like most of the material, it is like sending a kid to school without giving them a home first. All the teaching in the world will not overcome that huge deficit. Why do we approach the new life in Christ this way?
We Need to Recognize the Voice of God
Jesus said my sheep know my voice (John 10:3). In fact they run away from another’s voice (John 10:5). He is saying that each of us need to know His voice. We need to spend time listening to Him. What does He sound like? What kind of words does He say?
Often we push reading Scriptures because they are the very words of God. We are afraid that if we leave people to just listen they would be led astray. The truth is that the enemy is already speaking to these new believers, and they are already listening to Him. They need to hear the voice of their Father to override those lies. The Father’s words bring life not condemnation.
The Bible Was Never Meant to be Apart From God
The Scripture is great and needed, but without the infusion of the Spirit on what we read, we are missing it. The Pharisees were the great Bible teachers of their day, yet they missed it. Jesus said this about the Scripture:
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. – John 5:39-40
Let us start to trust our Heavenly Father with raising His own children. Jesus wants us to come to Him. Without this attention and words of life, we are like the orphaned children in the NPR story. We will approach Scripture trying to earn God’s favor. Our brains will not be wired effectively for the kingdom.
There is a place for training, but let’s not focus on this over the relationship. God wants to speak to His children. His words bring healing, wholeness, and life. We need to know how to received our Heavenly Father’s love and attention.
- Additional Resource – New Christian Follow-Up (PDF)