Like A Child
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3
My daughter is about to turn 5 and oh the stuff that comes out of her mouth! She makes us laugh so hard. She also makes us think. Her perspective is amazing! We are trying to do a good job teaching her about life, but truth is, she’s often teaching us.
Still, as much as I admire her and love her outlook, don’t we go through life trying NOT to be kids? Kids are immature, easily provoked, naïve, ignorant, weak, restricted, and perhaps the two things we don’t want to be most of all: dependent, and very, very vulnerable. After we move out of our parents’ house we essentially live the rest of our lives trying to prove that we can handle life on our own; we are not kids anymore.
It was no different in Jesus’ day, in fact children were not highly esteemed, to say the least. Kids were loved, sure. But not respected.
And so when the disciples asked Jesus, “Who’s the greatest in the kingdom?” They were baffled to watch as Jesus elevated and esteemed a lowly child.
Jesus knew the reputation children had. But he also knew their many glowing attributes. Children are:
Filled with awe and wonder.
And perhaps best of all dependent, and very, very vulnerable.
The pecking order of society was not interesting to Jesus. People trying to esteem themselves was boring. (Is boring.) What Jesus was interested in was people who wanted growth and who were open to a new way of life. So…Jesus looked at a bunch of adults who were posturing, scratching and climbing, TRYING, and said…be like these little ones. Be open. Hopeful. Imaginative. (See the rest of the above list) and be dependent and vulnerable.
So you. What are you doing in life where you are straining…trying your heart out to be more this or less that? We so badly want to be those kinds of people who have it all together. We want to get over our issues. We want to be on top of our spiritual game. We want to be mature. What Jesus is saying is, “You need to be as dependent and vulnerable on me as kids are to their parents.” So, what can you do to recapture the energy of a child when it comes to your spiritual life and overall outlook on life? You can…give up. Give up trying to strangle every facet of your life. If you’ve been baptized, think back to how dependent you were on the person who was baptizing you. How vulnerable you were. You were letting them dunk you backwards in a pool, symbolizing that you were acquiescing to God, that you were dying to yourself so that God can raise you up. If you haven’t been baptized yet, that would be a great first step for you in your pursuit of God. The easiest way to make that happen is to email [email protected]. Either way, when you have a situation where you are stressed and tempted to try and control everything or perhaps you’re dealing with a sin issue you can’t get over or whatever it is…pray this prayer:
Lord, help me be more like a child. Help me to be more dependent on you. I die to my way of doing things and trust that you will raise back to life all that you want to be brought back to life. Teach me to be more vulnerable with you, allowing my heart to be exposed so that you can do the work inside of me that you need to do. Thank you for overcoming death…death on the cross and the death that exists inside me. And (as Richard Foster once prayed) I trust that you are better at resurrection than I am.
Josh is a husband, father, pastor, and aspiring laundromat missionary. He is incredibly curious about the way people connect with each other and with God.