While painting the door frame between the living room and kitchen, I noticed little dots placed there long ago to mark our son Christopher’s growth. He could not wait to grow up and even worried that when he did grow up, he would be too short. Most children look forward to growing up and the opportunity to be independent and self-sufficient.
Once children stop growing physically, they look forward to growing in other areas. Some aspire to grow in knowledge, some in skill, others in strength, and still others in popularity. The idea of remaining childlike seems contrary to our natural desire to grow and do great things. Nonetheless, Jesus wants us to “remain little.”
In order to serve him, Jesus wants us to change our natural tendency toward self-realization and aggrandizement. When asked who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he answered: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Even as we grow physically and intellectually “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” as Jesus did, we need to remain humble and submitted and to God. (Luke 2:52) We must remain dependent on His love, his grace, his mercy and his will in the same way that a little child is dependent on a human father for every need.
Decreasing our stature before God comes with everlasting benefits. Just as humility or remaining childlike before God opens opportunities for service, it also makes every believer a vehicle God can use to receive and proclaim God’s word of truth. In Luke 10:21, Jesus says: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Humility equips us to enter God’s kingdom where God will lift us up to a position of heirs and write our names in the Book of Life. Matthew 18:4 says: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Dearest Heavenly Father,
Only you are good. You are a loving God, trustworthy and everlasting. We are fallen by nature, inclined to be selfish, unreliable in our behavior, and finite. Thank you for claiming us as your little children. Thank you for forgiving our sins and for the promise of a future with you in heaven.
In the name of Jesus, who humbled himself by becoming one of us,