Why does Jesus want us to “become like little children”?

In Matthew 18, Jesus was asked “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”.

faith like childHe called a little child forward to stand beside Him – the child was maybe 4-5 years old. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: unless you have become like this little child, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus was referring specifically to our relationship with God, but His advice relates to all relationships.

Humility. Faith. Trust.

Think about it: what was it about that child that you think Jesus was referring to? What qualities does a little 4-year-old child have that is important to the success of his/her relationships?

Remember back to when you were really little… Maybe you can think about another young child you know – maybe a little brother or sister, or a cousin or a neighbor. Young children are so trusting!

IMG_1542I know with my 4-year-old Emma, she just runs and falls into me – there’s no concept in her mind that I might NOT catch her. When she was a baby and she was ready to get out of her high chair, she would just stick out her arms to me and lean forward! She never gave any thought as to whether or not I was going to catch her.

Children are so trusting. They are open and vulnerable. They risk without fear – especially in the area of relationships.

Did you know that you have to train a child not to talk to strangers? They don’t know they can’t just trust everybody. They’re not afraid of rejection. They expect welcome. They speak their mind – they tell you exactly what they’re thinking – and they believe with all their heart that whatever they have to say to you is going to be received in love.

I think these aspects of child-like trust, faith, and humility are exactly what Jesus had in mind when He said, “you must become like this little child”. Jesus was saying that it is these qualities that are necessary if you are going to have a good relationship with God.


HUGE thanks to Dee Dee Stephens and Teen Advisors for teaching me these valuable truths about trusting whole-heartedly in God with a child-like faith when I was a teenager!

3 responses to “Why does Jesus want us to “become like little children”?

  1. Great points Nick. Also, children still have a sense of awe and wonder that has not been jaded by the world, you can see it in their play. They dream big and imagine big, because no one has told them otherwise. And most small children are inquisitive (My nieces love to ask me questions and pick my brain about everything), and we should be the same with God. Often as adults we think we have a decent enough grasp on our Christian walk so we go to church here and there and that’s good enough. When we should spend in God’s Word, seeing what it says. Skeptics always say people want believers to be child like because they think a child’s trusting nature makes them easy to manipulate. Have you ever tried to bluff a kid? I have, never goes well. But it is the trust, the sense of wonder and awe, the faith in good, that’s being child like. Blessings Nick.

    • YES! You are right-on, Ebony. Thank you for adding these valuable thoughts. Lord, may we always maintain that child-like sense of awe, wonder, curiosity, and trust toward You!

  2. Hi Nick,

    Really liked your post. It’s a great encouragement of something I want more in my life.

    Thanks, Diana

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