“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 18:3. How do we become like little children? We are being asked here by our Lord to become childlike, and not childish. There are various times in life when one needs to act mature, and when we do not act mature, we are acting childishly. But here we are asked to become childlike. We may get a glimpse into what it means to become like little children by considering a distinct characteristic of children. This distinguishing characteristic of babies or infants is how helpless they are when they are born. They are helplessly dependent on their caregiver. All they can do is cry, but whatever they need or desire at that time of their life must be deciphered by their caregiver since they cannot even get the information out on their own. Ironically, babies stay in this state for a while and continue to live a fully dependent life. If we, the people of God, would turn to God and place our dependence completely on Him, we will be welcome into His Kingdom, a world of peace and strength, a world of joy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not stop at the idea of becoming like little children in Matthew 18:3, He went on in Luke 18:17 to expand the idea by stating, “Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” The next logical question then is how do we receive the Kingdom of God like a little child? We have noted the complete and total helpless dependence of a child on their caregiver. We must also note that the dependence is wholehearted and without any distrust. Little babies trust their caregivers completely. They trust their care-giver for their food and how warm or cold the food is. They trust their care-giver for their protection and about where and how to be safe. Little babies cannot provide their own food, clothing, and shelter, yet they never doubt that they will be clothed and fed, and that there will be comfort, warmth, and shelter when they come home. We have a lot to learn from the attitude of these little babies. If only we can learn to trust our God just half as much as little babies trust their earthly father or mother. We must learn to place our complete trust in God, our maker. Only those who trust God unquestionably will enter the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 18:4 also talks about the humility of babies. “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Anyone who wants to enter the Kingdom of God must receive the Kingdom in humility. Every pride and arrogance must be eschewed. Entering the Kingdom of God is not about what we have become, who we are or what we are. Entering the Kingdom of God is not about how many times we have come to Church because coming to Church is not an end; it is only a means to an end. Attendance at Church is important to learn all the good things our God wants us to imbibe and use to live our lives, but it will not by itself take us into His Kingdom. Entering the Kingdom is not about the role we played in Church. One can be the most senior Pastor and still get turned back at the gate if our life was all about arrogance and pride. Entering the Kingdom of God is not about who we know or do not know. Little babies do not get caught up in the trappings of knowledge. So, they do not argue over knowledge. They remain completely dependent on the knowledge of their care-giver. We must be like little babies so we can exhibit humble acceptance of the Kingdom of God. When we humble ourselves before the Lord, He gives us grace and is sure to lift us up (James 4:6,10).
We can learn something from little babies about the pattern of our behavior towards God who is our main caregiver and towards our fellow men who God wants us to love as ourselves. Humility must be the hallmark of a Christian’s behavior towards his/her fellow man, whilst trust and complete dependence must be the pattern of our attitude towards God, our maker, our caregiver, and our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. Brethren, let us come to God as a little baby. Let us come in complete dependence, trust, and humility. It is only those who receive the Kingdom of God in this manner of a little child that are destined to enter it. We pray for His grace to be childlike, not childish, for the Kingdom in Jesus’ name.
July 18, 2021 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya