The Lord Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).
In dealing with the dispute over who was the greatest among the disciples, Jesus emphasized that to enter the kingdom of heaven, one must become like a child. What does it mean to be like a little child? What childlike qualities do we need to recapture?
We should learn from the simplicity of a child. Our hearts should rely on God, trusting all things to Him as if sitting comfortably in the backseat and letting Dad drive the car, or as a child that is weaned from his mother, being calm and feeling secure. When we gain more and more experiences with God, we will be at ease like a weaned child to trust His guidance, just as the Israelites followed the ark of covenant when crossing the Jordan (Josh 3:14-16).
We should have a childlike innocence, being strangers to evil. We should also have a character of sincerity and honesty. When we grow to be more sophisticated in handling human relationships, let us strive not to lose our honesty and childlike innocence. We should be aware that gossip and passing rumors could be the acts of telling lies.
Jesus wants us to change and become like little children. When the disciples argued who would be the greatest, Jesus used a child to help His self-centered disciples get the point. It is easy to lose our eternal perspective and compete for status, influence, or advantages in the church. It is hard to identify oneself with little children – weak and dependent people with no status and no influence. However, it is not impossible.
When Peter denied the Lord the third time, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked upon him sorrowfully. Immediately, he was reminded of the words of the Lord, and then he went out and wept bitterly. Because of his childlike tears, he was forgiven by the Lord. In Antioch, he was rebuked openly by Paul, a younger fellow-worker, but he accepted this humbly and quietly (Gal 2:11-14). He still respected the gifts that Paul received from the Lord and called him a beloved brother (2 Pet 3:15). This kind of childlike humility is the main factor which enabled Peter to be a precious vessel of God and a pillar of the church.
May the Lord make us like the little children – pure, guileless, humble, and trusting God with faith and sincerity.