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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Affective Knowledge

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:15,16, NIV)

The disciples were not happy that Jesus was spending time with children. Didn’t He have more important things to do, more important people to meet, more important places to go?

Jesus rebuked them for wanting to dismiss children. He used the occasion to teach them about how to receive His kingdom.

How does a child receive a gift? The same way we should receive the Kingdom: with excitement, anticipation, joy and gratitude!

The kingdom of God is the greatest gift we will ever receive because it means we have citizenship, with all the rights and privileges, in the realm of King Jesus. As King, He rules where there is no death, sin, night, pain, disease, separation, war, broken promises, hatred, disappointment, sorrow, dashed hopes, depression, bankruptcy, aging, disasters, famine, crime, natural disasters, weariness or false hopes. His kingdom is not for a duration of days, weeks, months or years — but it lasts forever.

How do we receive this kingdom? As a child would!

Years ago I was driving my then 3-year-old daughter to preschool. She began writhing in pain in the backseat of the car.

I said, “Evangeline, what’s wrong?”

She replied, “Daddy, Jesus is kicking me in the tummy.”

For a few moments I couldn’t figure out what she meant, and then it dawned on me. She had invited Jesus into her heart several days earlier. She now had a stomachache, and she assumed that if Jesus was in her heart then He must be kicking her.

I smiled and kept on driving while my thoughts rambled one to another. First, I thought of the phrase from Jesus. Except you become as a child you cannot enter the kingdom of God. I had never up until that time understood what He was saying. I next thought of Martin Luther’s ruminations on that text. Luther had six kids who could make quite a racket, and one day Luther muttered of Jesus’ comment, “Dear God, do we have to become such idiots.”

Next I thought, What really did Jesus mean that we must receive the Kingdom as a child?

A bolt of clarity hit me, a lesson from my philosophy class in college. There are two kinds of knowledge: cognitive and affective. Cognitive is knowledge of facts: things like what, where, when, who and why. Affective is relational knowledge, as in “Adam knew his wife, Eve.”

At 3 years of age, my daughter didn’t have much cognitive knowledge about me. However, she knew me better than a lot of people who had more facts. Why? Affective knowledge. She knew me out of relationship.

“So, that’s it,” I said to myself as I drove. Jesus was talking about affective knowledge. Children don’t know a lot of facts; Jesus was saying that the doorway to the Kingdom is through relationship.

“You must be born again” (John 3:7). Cognitive knowledge is worthless in the Christian realm without affective knowledge. It is one thing to know about God, quite another thing to know Him.

Just as Jesus laid His hands on children, He seeks to bless us as well, if we will approach Him with the open heart and unrestrained love of a child.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I want to be a citizen of Your kingdom. I am grateful that I know You — more importantly, that You know me.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.


On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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