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