Volume 50 | Number 2 | April–June 2022

Inglés Español

The Thought Life of a Child Coming to Age before God

By Dr. H. T. Spence

The dark powers of the End Time are vying for our children, seeking to manipulate their young and tender concept of what they are and who they are, especially regarding their gender. Today’s leadership in every facet of our depraved world is maliciously seeking to warp society even in the very fundamentals of human existence to their own demonic insanity. It must be declared that God is the sovereign selector of gender, and He never makes a mistake! When man projects himself into the realm of deity, pretending to have equal powers as God, he desires to alter everything God has made, including its true purpose and the overwhelming side effects that will fall upon generations to come. Oh, for the former days of simplicity of living, the days when safety surrounded the play of the child throughout his neighborhood! The days when a child was born, grew up, played in the light of his God-given gender as a boy or as a girl, and there were no attacks on what he or she was. The child then entered the world as a young man or a young lady.

Today, however, childhood is far removed from all of God’s appointed precious enjoyment of natural life. True childhood is being destroyed by political systems that are intentionally thwarting the naturalness of life given by God! Today, our political leaders are literally inverting everything to create an insane, abnormal world. Simple human existence has lost its way and is caught in self-destructive powers. This demonic insanity comes under the guise of political correctness, the woke movement, critical race theory, the inverted corruptions of sodomy, same-gender marriages, the evil ideology of transgenderism (changing of boys into girls and girls into boys, convincing them they are old enough to make their own decisions in life), as well as other overt perversions of morals and ethics taught in the public schools. The entire melting pot of this “helter-skelter” lunacy across the earth is truly endeavoring to destroy all former paradigms of human existence and to destroy what God has naturally endowed humanity with from creation. It truly is a lunatic generation, and the powers of the wealthy are radically paying for the changes now forced on the innocent season of childhood. It is one thing for adults to choose their distorted perversions and lifestyles, but it is another thing to press the infatuation of such dark destruction upon children, manipulating their innocent minds and thoughts into spheres of ruination. We declare once again that our only hope for survival for this entire planet and the culmination of history in some form of sanity is for Jesus Christ to come back to earth and destroy the Day of Man’s rule, and set up His own perfect, righteous government where His principles and law rule and reign pervasively in every aspect of humanity!

Truly, we are in the culmination of Psalm 2:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder [the bands of principle and right living according to God and His people], and cast away their cords from us [a totally secularistic, atheistic global humanity].

Man will absolutely destroy himself if God does not send His Son to save man from his own self-destructive powers. It is not simply the nuclear bomb that we fear will destroy humanity; we fear man’s warped thinking about the purpose of his existence, about his future, and the desire to recreate what he in his depraved, diabolical darkness longs to be without God! One way the global leaders will control the next generation is by transforming that generation’s childhood into what is the opposite and most unnatural—away from what God Himself has created childhood to be.

It is an hour, dear reader, when we must help our children through this godless end-time season of thought pollution, and its pedophilia, human trafficking, and intentional destruction of childhood and youth. We cry, even now, “Oh God, deliver us from warped, evil men and women in this immoral hour that has come upon us all, but especially upon our children!” It is more imperative than ever to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). This infallible principle declared from God’s Word calls upon us to give intimate and detailed instruction “in the way,” in the very beginning of the child’s way, that “he should go,” not to leave life up to the child but teaching the child in the way he should go.

God intended at the beginning of the child’s life for the parent to choose for the child.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck (Prov. 1:8, 9).

Our children must even be taught how to “think,” rather than leaving it up to their own depraved, deceptive heart or the hearts of bad companions and the secularists of the world. The instruction of a godly father and the law of a godly mother are to become the “ornament of grace unto thy head.” But there must also be the careful training of the “will,” the “chains about thy neck.” The will of a child must be broken before the child even knows he has a will. These truths are equally needed to be taught along with the training in manners of etiquette and conversation with others.

The Straits of Life

Oh, the straits that our children must pass through in life! In our English language a strait is a narrow channel or passage that connects two bodies of water. One of the most prominent straits is the Strait of Gibraltar that connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. There are straits in life that become transitional seasons all must pass through. There is a mental and moral strait between childhood and young manhood or young womanhood. How does one enter manhood without being destroyed when leaving childhood? A critical key of making it through this strait is for God to be in the life of the young person: in the thought life, in the very process of thinking of the mind, and in his living of life. Perhaps there are two contributing factors to this aspect of the strait: (1) The child’s background and home life, and (2) what the child privately gives his thoughts to over his preteen and teen years.

A Call from God to Our Youth

We read in Luke 2:40–42 of our dear Lord when he was in this strait as a child:

And the child [paidia, the little child] grew [continued to do so, physically], and waxed strong in spirit [conscience, knowledge of right and wrong], filled with wisdom [in making decisions in life]: and the grace of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

We carefully read the various stages of Christ’s young life in this passage, including when, at the age of twelve, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the first time in accountability to the Law. We then read in Luke 2:49, “And he said unto them [his parents], How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” It is evident in this passage that the young boy Jesus was coming into this consciousness. Then in 2:51 we read, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” Although about His Father’s business, He also was obligated to His parents and others in authority. The child must come to accountability to the parents and to those in authority as that is the prelude of his accountability before God. If the child fails in the first accountability, there will be failure in the second.

In the Jewish thinking this concept is found in the term mitzveh. It is a Yiddish term that comes from the original Hebrew mitzvah. This word means “to do something for someone else.” It also has a deeper meaning of a sacred obligation that is believed to be essential to Jewish living. Thus, we have the understanding of a Bar Mitsvah, referring to a boy at the age of 13, and a Bat Mitsvah for a girl at the age of 12. These events are when a child becomes accountable to the law of God. It is a very important time in the child’s life, both naturally and religiously. When the Jewish child comes to this age, there is a formal presentation in the temple and later in synagogues. The child is then accountable to God and has come to the “age of accountability” or obligation to God.

It is interesting to note that this season of accountability arises in the season of a young child’s life when hormonal changes are taking place in the physical body. Within the girl it is around 11 to 12 years old, and within the young boy around 13 to 14 years old. At this season the changes of the body tend to cause thoughts to race into directions that are very delicate; if not carefully guarded, the child may be given to thoughts leading into immorality as the body begins to explode into feelings and desires of womanhood and manhood. This “strait” will need guidance, and God has appointed that this is when the mitzvah is inaugurated into the child’s life. Thoughts of God and duties before God are to help check the thought life and the body surging into a sea of maturing abilities of procreation. There must be a guidance, a protection to help the transition from childhood into early manhood. Some young people fail in that strait and commit sins that affect them down the road of life. Their thought life becomes twisted and distorted in areas that will hurt them. Oh, that God could become a part of the child’s life, to accompany him through this strait to enter early manhood well, rather than perverted in thought and desire. We live in a society that is bringing “sexuality” earlier into the thinking of youth, forcing them prematurely into what should be a later season. Blatant, risqué education of immorality is now being heavily brought into kindergarten and early elementary school grades. Such concentrated education will not only warp the minds of the children but also permanently scar them in their prime of life. The wicked care not the damage done to our children.

The Age of Accountability

The age of accountability is presented in the Old Testament context of when the child comes to an accountability before God. Prior to that season his soul is not accountable. This is to be seen in the “shadow” and “type” of the Bar Mitsvah. “For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good…” (Isa. 7:16a). Before this time, a child is under the blood of Christ and thus saved by grace alone. The age in which the child passes that threshold of accountability may vary according to the maturity of his thinking. But once that child crosses the line or enters into that narrow strait leading out from the harbor of childhood into the larger ocean of early manhood or womanhood, he or she now becomes accountable before God for sins.

Oh, the narrow strait for a boy and a girl when feelings and thoughts arise within and are encouraged from sights and sounds without. When does this begin to happen within a child? In Genesis 6:5 we read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The Hebrew word yetzer is used for the word imagination, meaning “to form or desire something in the mind.” This includes not only imagination but also purposes and desires. We must remember that thoughts become the building blocks of the imagination. This verse is telling us that in the days of Noah the whole imagination of man was perverted. We then read in Genesis 8:21, “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” This begins in the child around the age of 4 to 6 years old. Children are different from one another in this season of life, depending on their maturity of thought. I have met children who were as young as 3 or 3½ years old when they had crossed that line of accountability. It seems to come a little earlier for girls than boys.

These stages of youth are seen in the Hebrew language in Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10:

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth [adolescence]; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth [teenage years], and walk in the ways of thine heart [the place of the conscience and volition of the will], and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow [lusts that lead to and end in sorrow] from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood [adolescence] and youth [teenage years] are vanity [or, there is no permanence of youth].

These verses reveal the various stages of youth, the deepening of thought and intensity of the imagination, or putting things together. The deeper the age of growth, the greater the intensity of the thoughts.

This is why the narrow strait leading out of the harbor of childhood into the larger ocean of early manhood is where the critical key of life is to be found. This is where the child’s thoughts become instilled and later will build his manhood or her womanhood. Yes, the narrow strait is very crucial; it will set the tenor and tone for the years ahead. This is where the two worlds converge on one another and finally collide. This is where the outward world of what the child sees and hears, and the inward consciousness which God has placed in conscience and soul come together. Yes, these powers come together. The child comes to a God-consciousness and a distinction between right and wrong. When this transition is made, he now becomes accountable before God, and the older the child gets, the greater the accountability.

The Things of a Child’s Past

We must pray that God will deal with our children about their past, that they will come to a consciousness of their accountability before God of their actions and words of the past. They must come to understand the need of forgiveness from actions that came because of the thoughts of their imagination that led to those actions. Within Luke 2 we see three stages of Christ’s youth:

  1. “And the child grew…” This Greek word for child is paidia, which portrays the understanding of a little servant boy. To the Greek thinking, a child is a servant under someone.
  2. Then in verse 43, “The child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem…” The word for child is pais, an older servant boy; we know this to be when He was 12 years old.
  3. In verse 48, “And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son…” This is the Greek word teknon, meaning a child who is under the authority of another, such as under a parent.

Oh, that Christ would be found within the heart of the child so that the Christ could live in him and through him in each of the stages of life. It is not so much imitating Christ, but the fact that He must be in the child, living His life through the child. Yes, even with the life of a child, Christ must become his life and his power of living; but Christ will not do so unless the child yields to Him for his life.

Who inspires us to live? Is it the world? Is it someone whose life is spiritually dead, who believes he can beat the game of sin? I remember a boy in the public high school who came from a broken home: his father was a drunkard; his mother, a woman of ill repute. This boy would smoke in the bathroom. He would hold his cigarette a certain way and would spit in a certain way, and a group of boys imitated him in his smoking and spitting. But his life was dead; he talked about dead things; his countenance was bland. At that time, I was not a Christian, but even then I knew this boy was in deep trouble. Oh, young man, or young girl, who are you imitating? Why do you imitate them? Some may appear spiritual, but they are mean and hateful to others; they are inconsiderate of others, and so unlovely in their ways and talk with others. The power of self-centeredness produces an ugly person. But such a power is the product of a process of bad thinking. Therefore it is important for Christ to be in the life of a child and in the life of the teenager. It must be more than a profession; it must be that Christ is living in the child, and the child is in Christ. If this be true, the Lord will be in the child’s thinking and thoughts.

We want the Saviour to help the child through this vital strait of life. Many children do not make it through this season well; they have the wrong pilot, or they think they are wise enough to make it through on their own without guidance and counsel. Sadly, they will not listen to good guidance.


We must remember that thoughts reap actions, and actions reap habits, and habits reap character. Character is what will reap our destiny! If the child fails in thoughts or actions, repentance is the key to recovery. If thoughts and actions have entered the heart and mind, how does a child recover from the failure? Sometimes it is a moral failure either with himself or with others. Sometimes the failure is in a growing spirit and attitude that the child continues to persist in and refuses to give up. Such a growing mood and spirit will finally drive him into a deep, manifested mood that affects not only the child but also all those who are around the child, including the very spirit of the home. Sometimes it may be fear that causes the child to quit life or even to rebel. Fear is a very powerful thing; only love for Christ perfected can overcome this, even in a child. Sometimes the failure is pride that refuses to get things right when God deals with the child: pride of place and pride of face. Sometimes, as the child grows older, the failure might be the fear of what he knows he must do for God and that he does not want to do; perhaps in his thinking it will be too costly. (This was one thing I was afraid of in becoming a true Christian: what I would have to give up or what I would have to do.)

Whatever the case may be, the parent or teacher or pastor must aid that child or teenager in getting right with God. The heart and mind must be given to God to come to right thinking about Him and about His Son and His work on the cross for that child. Whatever the failure, whatever the sin, let us encourage the child to recover from it. It would be better to make the mistakes, failures, and even sins early before coming into the prime of life; there is still hope of recovery of that child. Later in life, in committing sins and in failures, there is certainly hope in forgiveness, but the side effects then may be permanent. We must give hope to the child as to the provisions of Christ for him.

Let us encourage our children in good and right thoughts, especially thoughts about God. “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter” (Eccles. 10:20).Cultivate a deep respect for God in the child. Note Psalm 10:4, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.”

We must remember one of the reasons God sent His Son: “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35). Childhood and youth are the seasons for revealing the heart and the thoughts of a person’s life. May the Lord help our children navigate through the early strait of life from childhood, as a boy into manhood and as a girl into womanhood.