At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”
Become like a child, what does this mean? Are we to physically transform into a child? No, that would be impossible. What is God telling us here? What are the attributes in a child that God is looking for?
They are real and sincere. Open and honest. They don’t flatter another to advance their own position. They openly express the emotions of their heart which allows them to be genuine and not fake. However, this open honesty needs to be done with love and respect. This does not negate the authenticity, but rather portrays a sense of maturity.
Even though sometimes they think they are independent, they are really dependent on their parents for all their physical needs. When newborns cry for food, they aren’t seeking consolation from anyone but their mom, because she is the only one who can supply the food they need. We need to seek Jesus Christ with this focus, because He is the only one that can fulfill the needs that we have.
As the saying goes “easy as taking candy from a baby”, children’s gut reaction is generally to trust others. They want to see the good in others rather than the worst and take what people are saying at their word. My son will trust me to catch him even when he is uncomfortable to jump on his own. Through being burned in the past, many adults walk with so many reservations because they don’t want to feel the pain again. To be like a child would be trusting God to carry us through whether or not we trust our situation.
There is nothing as refreshing as the sincere love of a child. When they hug you and kiss you, you know it is for real. They make you feel like you are the only one in their world.
Forgive and Forget
If you punish a child for misbehaving, ten minutes later he will be running into your arms to show love. They don’t hold grudges or keep a record of wrongs, like many adults do.
By age 2, your brain is 80% developed. Children are like sponges, ready and willing to learn at any opportunity you provide. When we become adults we start to become set in our ways. Our once teachable spirit becomes callous to learning.
Although we are sinful at birth (Psalm 51:5) there is an innocence of a child. They don’t judge or struggle with impure thoughts. When they are really young, they haven’t outwardly sinned. They have kept the Ten Commandments and any laws of the land.
To humble ourselves like a child is a hard task because we feel physically able to do whatever our mind allows us to accomplish. However, God presents a different view: an understanding of dependence, trust, and love that truly allows one to appreciate and understand our need for Christ.
Dear Jesus, may our hearts be open to become like little children again. Allow us to see the world with a fresh set of eyes, genuine, loving, and willing to trust You with our whole heart, humbly kneeling before the throne, realizing that we are dependent on You with our lives, and trusting You with our hearts.