How Are We to Behave Like a Little Child

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

Have you ever thought what this verse means and why He would use a little child as an example of this warning? What do children do that adults don’t and why?

Let’s start by looking at little kids.  When they are first born, they can do nothing for themselves and rely on the parents for everything.  They are so innocent.  As they grow, they may only cling to the parents and be fearful of others.  Once they start to talk, some never stop.  They have no worries. They love spending time with parents. They are quick to forgive.  When they get a little older, they have learned to watch the parents faces to see if it’s ok to do what they are about to do or look to see what the parent’s reaction is when they fall…do they laugh or cry.  They learn to trust and fear the parents and understand the house rules.  How many times have we heard them say, “Mommy says….” or “Daddy doesn’t do it like that! I’m telling!”

What are the parents doing during this time?  They start teaching the baby how to fall asleep on their own, feed themselves, dress themselves, etc. and over time to be their own person.  A parents role is to teach a child to be independent and not to rely on others, cause one day they may not be there to help them anymore.  So what’s our next clue as to the verse meaning?

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

This verse tells me that the things we were taught or taught our children may differ.  Let’s look at some more verses to see what His Word says.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18  (never stop talking)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ask and talk about everything)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 (more talking-don’t worry-be thankful)

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Proverbs 28:26

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. Psalms 118:8(don’t trust in yourself or man)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.            

Proverbs 1:7 (what would Dad say)

You can see most of these verses are opposite of what human parents teach.  Our heavenly Father wants us to talk to him constantly and always be dependent on Him for everything from what we eat and drink to our peace and joy.  He also tells us to trust Him over men, including ourselves.  He wants us to cling to him in every way.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22

A song of ascents. Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. Psalms 128:1

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Acts 5:32

These last few verses are similar of what parents want from their children: to trust and obey them because of their love for each other. 

We can see how we can struggle to become totally dependent on God when we’ve been taught from a very young age to become independent.  This is why there are verses telling us to renew our minds to train our minds to think differently, to talk to God first in everything we do and rely on his constant help.  God can always be by our side and can be the source of all our needs all the days of our lives and for eternity, as long as we choose to be His child.  When we have said yes, we believe and ask Jesus into our lives and repent of our sins, and truly want our end goad to be with our heavenly Father for eternity, then we must also learn the new “House Rules”. We need to be that little child looking up at his Father as in Psalms 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. We also need to realize that our lives should show that change of who we now fear as our Father.  I will end with Colossians 3, as I believe we should strive to have our lives look like this if we are truly His children.

Colossians 3

3 Since you became alive again, so to speak, when Christ arose from the dead, now set your sights on the rich treasures and joys of heaven where he sits beside God in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here. 3 You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God. 4 And when Christ who is our real life comes back again, you will shine with him and share in all his glories.

5 Away then with sinful, earthly things; deaden the evil desires lurking within you; have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires; don’t worship the good things of life, for that is idolatry. 6 God’s terrible anger is upon those who do such things. 7 You used to do them when your life was still part of this world; 8 but now is the time to cast off and throw away all these rotten garments of anger, hatred, cursing, and dirty language.

9 Don’t tell lies to each other; it was your old life with all its wickedness that did that sort of thing; now it is dead and gone. 10 You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you. 11 In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all.

12 Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. 13 Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

14 Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony. 15 Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful.

16 Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, and come with him into the presence of God the Father to give him your thanks.

18 You wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, for that is what the Lord has planned for you. 19 And you husbands must be loving and kind to your wives and not bitter against them nor harsh.

20 You children must always obey your fathers and mothers, for that pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying.

22 You slaves must always obey your earthly masters, not only trying to please them when they are watching you but all the time; obey them willingly because of your love for the Lord and because you want to please him. 23 Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters, 24 remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for. 25 And if you don’t do your best for him, he will pay you in a way that you won’t like—for he has no special favorites who can get away with shirking.




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