“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Whoever humbles himself like this child is thegreatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4
Children. They are snotty little bacteria carriers, that suck your account dry, rob you of your sanity, ruin your coolness factor, kill spontaneity, and wreak havoc on your body.
At least, that is what the majority of the world thinks. Children are viewed as disposable, a nuisance and unimportant until they reach adulthood.
Sadly the view of children in ancient times was not much different. Abortion was prevalent as well as infanticide. At times disabled and girl babies were put out with the trash.
But Jesus was different.
Jesus loved children. He made them, he sustains them, he has real affection for these little ones and he used them to teach those around him a very important truth about faith.
No one can enter the kingdom unless they become like a child. Well, what are children like?
They are trusting, relatively innocent, and often indifferent to the world's values. They are accepting and loyal. Are we to be like this? Sure. There are plenty of places in scripture that address the kind of character we are to have. These are good things but I believe that Jesus was not just focusing on their positive character traits as much as he was focusing on their low estate.
These little children had no power, no credit, nothing that earned them any value in society. Instead they were needy, helpless, insignificant and generally useless. This is how we are to come to Christ. We must come to Jesus in our weakness instead of our strength. We must come to him recognizing that we are nobodies instead of somebodies. We must admit our neediness and total inability to help ourselves. We must come to Christ humbly, like a child.
This is counter intuitive. When you go on a date you typically don’t start by laying out all your weaknesses. “Hi, I’m Jen. I am indecisive and organizationally challenged. I leave the cap off the toothpaste and pack the trash so full that things start falling onto the floor.”
We wouldn’t do this on a resume, at an interview, or when meeting new people. And yet this is exactly what Jesus wants us to do when we come to him. To lay aside all pride and to admit to him every weakness.
Since pride has a deep hold on us it can be very difficult to admit to being needy. The world says we can do anything if we try hard enough, and we have bought into that lie. But Jesus makes it clear that it is not the strong or the rich or the ones who have it all together who inherit the kingdom, (Matthew 5:3,5; Lk 18:24; ), but those who are like children. By exposing our shortcomings we begin to see our utter need for Jesus. In our weakness we see that God holds all power and we hold none. We begin to realize that we must come to him for every single need, no matter how small or insignificant we think they are. We finally learn that there is no prayer request too small and we begin to understand our desperate need to be rescued because we simply cannot do it ourselves.
Jesus must become our everything!
What I think is amazing is that by coming to Christ in our weakness he gives us strength and though we are ignorant we are given wisdom. Sin has ruined our usefulness and yet he changes us and chooses to make us useful for his kingdom and for the good of those around us.