We are children of God. Every single one of us. The bond and the free. The poor and the rich. The intelligent and the unlearned. The famous, the infamous, and the unknown faces. Every person that has ever lived, is living, and will ever live in this universe is a literal son or daughter of a Heavenly Father. And compared to His capacity, every one of us is indeed nothing more than a child. The most intellectual and/or spiritual person on this earth is still to God as a toddler is to its parents.
We are all learning and will still have opportunities to learn long after we pass from this mortal stage in our lives. That’s why we’re here, to learn and grow. A father or mother does not expect their child to fully understand the ways of life before they leave home and begin their own lives. The child continues to learn lessons about life as they grow older, go to school, begin careers and families, etc. Inevitably, mistakes are made along the way and the individual(s) learn how to adjust their ways so they don’t make the mistakes anymore.
Christ said to “be ye perfect,” even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. I’m sure the Savior was fully aware of this impossibility. He wasn’t referring to this life though. Indeed, we should strive to get as close to being like God as we can. Naturally, however, we are bound to epically fail at this endeavor. It’s alright. Perfection can be reached in the life to come. This life is a preparatory state, and like children, we learn how to be like God one lesson at a time.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi expounds this idea nicely.
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30)
Through humility, we can be taught by the Spirit of God and learn what God would have us learn. Just as a child must grow in education and understanding, starting in pre-school, moving on to elementary, middle, and high school, and then perhaps on to college and family life, our spiritual minds also must learn by steps and levels. God will give us what we can handle. We can take it, learn and apply it, and then move on to the next thing, or we can desire something more than we can handle and fail… epically.
Nephi’s brother, Jacob, spoke of this in regards to the Jews before and during the time of Christ.
But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble. (Jacob 4:14)
The prophets spoke plainly to the Jews. Christ spoke plainly to the Jews. Yet they rejected Him and His apostles. They spoke in their own manner of teaching, i.e., Christ often spoke of Himself as the living bread, that they who ate of His flesh would have eternal life. Such was common symbolism in the Jewish culture, yet they would not listen or understand. They hardened their hearts and instead sought for things they could not understand. We often do this, hoping that in looking beyond plainness we will not be held as accountable for our mistakes.
Well, obviously God knows this when we try and do it. There’s not much point ’cause we’re basically just setting ourselves up for failure. So don’t harden your heart against plain truth, and also don’t sell yourself short. We climb a ladder one step at a time.