Become Like Children

Matthew 18:3 (ESV) and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I don’t believe it would be wise for me to attempt to address woman with regards to this verse as I am unfamiliar with the workings of relationships among the female gender.  Therefore, I will address it based on three stages males go through.  When Jesus refers to children I believe we should look at how an eight year old boy looks up to men and particularly his father.  To a child at that age his father is the ultimate man; he can do no wrong; the child’s greatest desire is to spend time with him; whatever he is doing the child is interested and wants to be involved.  I have been a witness to this from many angles, starting with being an eight year old and looking up to my own father.  Although, I never had kids of my own I had friends who did and I saw that gleam in the child’s eye, even doing things that would bore an adult the child is happy to tag along just to be part of the event.  It is a shame for a boy to go through this age without a father in the house.

By the age of twelve something begins to happen, what good old dad is doing just doesn’t seem important anymore; at fifteen, sixteen and seventeen, somehow dad becomes an idiot.  My step-son was fifteen when I met my wife; I was cool when I was giving him money to go to the game room but other than that we both knew the deal.  Of course, I knew that someday he would grow out of thinking that I’m an idiot, he didn’t know that yet.  These teenage years are time spent wandering in the wilderness, thinking we know everything and not looking up to anyone, except maybe peers who are in the same phase of life.  We would never bring our problems to our father during this phase; we would rather ask our friends because our father just doesn’t know what it’s like to go through whatever it is that’s going on.

Once again a change is coming, at least for most men, right after they move out on their own, running up into their thirties.  They start to notice that they don’t know everything and dad was right about a few things; maybe he wasn’t an idiot after all.  Once they have kids of their own they will really start to see the pattern and may even ask their father how to handle different situations.

So what is Jesus saying to us?  It seems that so many of us are stuck in the teenage phase when it comes to God; we know everything and think in terms of earthly wisdom.  God’s word is nice but not practical in the real world.  Our hearts are hard, we won’t listen to anybody other than our peers and we wouldn’t even think to bring our problems to God.  It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit softening our hearts that we can even consider listening to our Heavenly Father.  And this is the stage that Jesus is addressing, can we go back to when we were eight only this time look up to God as our Heavenly Father, for He is truly the ultimate father.  Can we admit that we don’t really know much at all and that earthly wisdom has done little for our souls.

If we are to see the kingdom of heaven we must start as a child, knowing that God is our father and holds all the cards.  Avoiding the teenage years, which would be filled with spiritual pride, can we make the jump from child to mature Christian; humble, yet able to help others on their pilgrimage.  Even if we stay as children forever and just adore God we will certainly be in better shape than those who refuse to yield their will.

Heavenly Father,
Your wisdom, patience and mercy are beyond human measure and yet we are a proud, impatient people.  Please, help us to be humble and to adore you as a child adores his human father.  Let the lesson be gentle while you teach us that our pride is misplaced and as a boy grows to be a man, let us grow in spirit to glorify you as our Lord.  As Jesus died on the cross we must die to ourselves that our foolish pride can no longer block us from receiving your wisdom.  And just as Jesus was raised from the dead, let us live again for your glory, for it is in His great name that we pray.
Amen

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One Response to “Become Like Children”

  1. What a great post! I have been struggling lately with my step son, there have been major issues that have really affected my marriage to his mom. He has a child on the way with his girlfriend, there are so many emotional issues with him that I have almost gotten to the point of disconnection with him. I know that’s not the answer, I just don’t know what else to do.
    This post was very encouraging, knowing that they (teens) will one day grow up and see that they didn’t really know everything, That is a lesson I am still learning and hope that my step son learns as well.
    Thanks for the encouraging words.
    Blessings
    Ron Reffett

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