“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew18:3).
Could you reverse time and become a little child once again? Could your parents? Silly question, huh?
Whether you’re a child now or not, we were all children once. And God willing, we will all continue to progress into adulthood. To enjoy a long life is a blessing from the Lord.
Yet, Jesus holds a special place in His heart for children. So much so that He requires adults to “revert” to their youth in order to enter heaven.
How? And why?
Rest assured, Jesus is not suggesting a dip in the elusive fountain of youth. The apparent puzzle can be solved by answering the question: what is the fundamental difference between a child and a grown up?
The answer: To be a child, you simply have a need and willingness to rely on authority. Authority has the power to direct someone’s behavior and decisions.
As children, we were all subject to authority. Our well-being depended on it. In fact, a child’s inherent vulnerability is protected by the structure established by such authority. Children feel most secure and loved within the boundaries of these rules established for their well-being.
Adults, on the other hand, grow stubborn in their ways. They are less likely to submit to authority of any kind. Grown ups tend to want to prove themselves right rather than risk appearing “weak” or “vulnerable”.
God will not force His authority on us. We must choose to submit to His authority. Because of this, a prideful attitude hinders submission to God’s authority. Only a humble, submissive attitude like that of a trusting child can enter into relationship with Jesus.
Jesus acknowledges that by the world’s standards, submitting to another’s authority relegates one to a “lower” position. But because coming under Christ’s authority is essential for our eternal well-being, becoming “lowly” (submitting to His will and accepting Him as our Savior) actually exalts us!
The next verse says, “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, submitting to Christ’s authority does the opposite of what submitting in the world does. By being the least in the world, we get to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven!
So, the choice boils down to either:
- Not being willing to submit to the authority of God and never entering the kingdom of heaven or
- Submitting to the authority God like a little child and becoming the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
There’s no in between! It may require you to swallow your pride, but the pay-off is worth it. Resume your childlike submission to Godly authority and reap the benefit of a ticket into the kingdom of heaven.
- Name the authority figures you most rely on in your life. Next, explain what life would be like without them.
- As you get older, do you find yourself less willing to obey the rules established by these authority figures? Why or why not?
- Where do we find the rules God establishes for those who are willing to come under His authority?
- Brainstorm five commandments that have eternal and immediate benefits for your well-being. Can you commit today to reading Scripture and learning more of the ways you can submit to God’s authority in your life?
Dear God, thank you for giving me rules to live by. I know you did because you love me and want me to have a good life. And you want me to enter the kingdom of heaven so we can be together for eternity. Please help me swallow my pride and remember that trusting you like a little child is the only way I will be able to truly submit to your will and obey your commands. Allow me to be humbled so I can keep relying on you for support and guidance. Remind me to read the Bible so I can learn how you want me to live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.