“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” 2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 18:1-3, NLT
I used to think that maturity meant sophistication, something to out-grow. Applying it to spiritual matters was a natural fit. I tried hard to accelerate things and attempt to move beyond simple basics of the faith. Jesus’ cadre of disciples needed this lesson. They were given very specific and pointed instruction:
“One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. ”
Henry Ward Beecher
Jesus makes a special effort to get his followers to see their need. He voices the dictate that they must become children again; that they must learn that the basics are the core. Real faith remains childlike even as it gets old. As we see the children that are in our midst, we should see in them the pattern for us as we connect with the Lord, and with each other. It’s a paradox, but we mature as children, and this doesn’t ever change. Jesus told us that the Kingdom belongs to those whose faith is childlike.
Childlike faith seems to have three focuses:
- Areas of intimacy, in the presence of the Lord as sons and daughters,
- Areas of relationships, between each other as brothers and sisters
- Issues of spiritual warfare, facing the daily battle with sin and darkness.
Holding a child’s faith works its way into us in deep ways. At its essence is a humility (mixed with brokenness) that shapes how we move through our lives. There would be many embarrassed people if they were suddenly clothed in nothing but their humility. (I think we should make more of it then we do.)
Becoming a person of childlike faith will take a lifetime, that is why we should start now.
“God created the world out of nothing, and so long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.”