“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
The disciples have just been arguing about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They finally go to Jesus so He can settle the dispute.
“Unless you change and become like little children…” (Matthew 18:3a) What does this really mean? Aren’t they already acting like little children? It doesn’t seem much different that an argument over who is mom or dad’s favorite!
This has truly been a difficult concept for me. Just when I think I get it, I feel like I miss the mark. How are we supposed to be like children?
Children are immature, yet we are to be mature, growing in our faith. Children do not have authority and yet Jesus has given us power and authority in His name. Children are inexperienced and have little education under their belt. Seeking God opens us to His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
So how do we do all these things and yet be like children?
Let go of your pride –The children came to Jesus. Our pride so often keeps us from simply coming to Jesus in the first place. The mere fact that God has made a way for us to be with Him in heaven is humbling. We do nothing to earn the gift God has given us. Pride says I can earn position, knowledge and wisdom based on my own efforts. God gives freely and generously
to those who come to Him.
Submit to authority – Children are humble. God has created a hierarchy, a heavenly organization chart. We too often want to believe we are in control; control of ourselves, our family, our work, and our relationships. We think we know best. We don’t want anyone stepping in telling us that we neither understand nor truly have control. God doesn’t need us to take the authority of those He has placed over us in order to accomplish His will.
Accept the truth – Peter says to be like newborn infants and crave pure spiritual milk. (1 Peter 2:2) Don’t settle for watered-down truth, religion that keeps you tied to the law, or truth sprinkled with fillers to make you feel full. Be satisfied in the simplicity of the good stuff, the truth of Jesus; not the junk food the world has to offer.
We can make all sorts of excuses as to why we don’t quite accept what the Bible has to say about sin, forgiveness and the changes we need to be willing to make to truly be in line with God’s will. We can continue to think that our experience, education or efforts give us the right to disregard what those in authority have to say. Sometimes the truth is hard and we want life to be easy so we find ways around the truth such as God loves everyone just as they are.
The truth is God does love everyone just as they are; but He also loves them too much to leave them that way. We are each born with traits and tendencies that pull us away from God. Jesus says, come to me, submit to my authority and accept my truth. We cannot do that and stay just as we are.
Something to Consider…
Is there an area in your life where you are keeping Jesus at a distance? Is there someone in authority in which you need to submit but have a difficult time? Is there Scripture that you just can’t believe is true or think can’t be relevant today?
As you come to Jesus with your questions and concerns, be willing to listen to His answers, move forward trusting what He says and continue to seek His truth in all situations.