Be Like Children
Sending for a child and putting
him in the midst of His disciples, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you
turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt
18:2-3). On another occasion, He said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not
receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mt 10:15). These
teachings were not meant for the multitude but His disciples. They had
quarreled over who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They had forbidden
children from going near Jesus. Though they had followed Jesus for some time
they had not changed. They were still carnal. The Lord wanted them to be
reborn; to be like children.
To be like children, one must he
born anew. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night and spoke to
Jesus on matters concerning the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told him that man must
be born anew in order that he may enter the kingdom of heaven. However,
Nicodemus could not understand that. He asked, “How can a man be born when he
is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Then
Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the
Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom
of God. That which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of
the Spirit is Spirit” (Jn 3:1-8).
be born of water is to be baptized in water. To be born of the Spirit is to
receive the baptism of the Spirit. So only after we have been baptized in water
and have received the Holy Spirit that we can be like children.
Jesus said, “He who believes and
is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mt
16:16). As such, the first step of salvation is to believe and baptize. Paul
endorsed this further by saying, “Do you not know that all of us who have been
baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried
therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the
dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if
we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united
with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified
with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be
enslaved to sin. For he who has died is free from sin” (Rom 6:3-7).
But how are children like?
Children love their parents. In the eyes of a child there is no one dearer than
his parents. His parents may be ugly, wearing dirty clothes, living a very hard
life, staying in a shabby house, suffering from material wants, yet he would
love them. If a very rich person were to buy him lots of toys, beautiful
clothes and all sorts of sweets and candies do you think that this child will
follow him? No. The child may like the things he can give but he will not give
up his parents for them--for he loves his parents above all.
We are children of God. We must
love our heavenly Father. The Bible says, “And to you shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all
your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk 12:30; Ps 73:25).
Children will not depart from
their parents. Giving a lost child sweets to eat and toys to play may pacify
him for a while, but soon he will start to cry again, until he finally finds
his parents. Therefore, we must not depart from our heavenly Father.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you
are the branches. He who abides in me, and tin him, he is that bears much
fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Indeed, we are nothing
if we are detached from the mercy and grace of God. We can do nothing. Paul
said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or
distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or perils, or sword? ... For
lam sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor
anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39). No matter what happens or under any
circumstances we must not leave our true God.
Children rely on their parents.
Even so, we must rely on God for God is love (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:8). The love of
God for us is even greater than the love of our parents. So, the person whom we
can rely on is our heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, our true God. The Bible tells
us that the Lord is our refuge and our fortress. He will deliver us from the
snare of the fowler. He will give His angels charge of us to guard us in all
our ways (Ps 91:2-11). Prophet Isaiah tells us that if we put our trust in God
we shall live in perfect peace (Is 26:3). Very often we see our brethren
relying on human effort rather than on God when they meet with difficulties.
This is very wrong. Paul says, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in
everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be
made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will
keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Php 4:6-7).
If we can put our trust in God, He
will surely send His peace and blessing to us. David trusted the Lord. He took
only a staff and five smooth stones with him to fight the giant Philistine.
David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and
with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of
the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled” (1 Sam 17:45). Eventually David
killed Goliath by simply relying on God. Therefore, if we can be like
children, entrusting everything to God, God will care for us and fulfill our
undertakings (Ps 37:5; 1 Pet 5:7).
Children love their brothers and
sisters. If someone were to suggest to a child that his baby brother or sister
is to be given away, he will be very angry. He is not willing to lose any of
his brothers or sisters The church is the house of God
(1 Tim 3:15). Everyone who repents and is baptized is a new born babe of God
(Jn 1:12-13; Jas 1:18). The love of a little child for his brother is pure,
there is no guile.
Peter said, “Having purified your
souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love
one another earnestly from the heart” (1 Pet 1:22). But it is sad to note that
there are brothers and sisters who appear to be full of faith, who serve the
Lord diligently but who dislike a brother or a sister. To them, the Bible has
this to say, “If any one says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a
liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God
whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves
God should love his brother also” (1 Jn 4:20-21). So, if we truly love our God,
we should be like little children, pure and without guile, loving our brethren
in all purity. If we love one another then the world will know that we are His
disciples (Jn 13:34-35).
Children like to imitate their
elders. Children learn from their elder. They see what their elders are doing
and they will also do. Likewise, the Lord Jesus wants us to be like children so
that we may learn from our fathers. Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of
Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). And, “Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who
so live as you have an example in us” (Php 3:17). The Lord Jesus Himself also
says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord,
but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does
likewise” On 5:19). And Peter says, “For to this you have been called, because
of Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow
in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21). Therefore, follow the examples of our Lord and the
Finally, children do not love the
world (1 Jn 2:15-18). They are not proud and they have no ego (Jas 4:6). They
have no part in evil doings (1 Cor 14:20). In short, children are innocent.
They are pure and without blemish. Their nature is very close to God’s. May the
Spirit of the Lord Jesus fill us to help us become like children.