“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
“And when the people brought little children to Jesus – for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples rebuked them. But When Jesus saw this he was indignant and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them and the disciples were amazed at his words.’” Mark 10:13-14, 16, &24a
The Bible, (the B.I.B.L.E. – Basic Instruction before Leaving Earth) instructions for us, God’s children, handed down through the ages. It teaches us how live godly lives, gives us wisdom and teaches us to pray. It instructs us on how to treat one another and raise our children, shows us how be a shining light bright with God’s knowledge and understanding. Jesus himself referred to us as his children.
Do you remember being a ‘lil child? Come on, shut your eyes, lean back and think… Maybe you remember the first time you were brought to church or maybe you remember the first time you heard “Jesus love me”. Perhaps you remember running about playing games during Vacation Bible School or sitting there in awe and wonder listening to the storyteller telling the stories of the bible – Daniel in the Lion’s Den, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale or the story of Queen Esther? Think, my family, close your eyes and think back for just a moment, for we’ve all been ‘lil children.
So, what is it that we have as ‘lil children that is so special and so important, that Jesus would tell us “that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (the little children)? As I pondered this question and as I prepared for this message I came across a few scriptures and some interesting information in one of my daily devotionals, Daily Wisdom – March 18th.
Jesus said “I tell you the truth unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven, so anyone who becomes as humble as a little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Proverbs 18:3-4
Jesus used childlikeness to describe people who are the real citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
When I read that I decided to do some checking so, let’s go through Proverbs 18 again, starting with verse 3 where Jesus says: “I tell you the truth unless you turn from your sin…” So, the Proverb begins with the act of repentance – *(turn ‘lil children, turn from your sins and wicked ways) and then it says become, – become like little children. Well, how does that happen, we might ask? I learned, with the word “become”, it describes a process, my family; with the word “become”, it indicates that this is an ongoing process. An ongoing experience of learning and growing to “become” like a ‘lil child. In fact, I found out that is why the word “become” is used twice in these specific scriptures.
So again I ask: What did Jesus find so compelling about childlikeness? What is it that we have as a child that is so special, so important that Jesus would want us to once again “become” like little children?
Humility is one thing. The act of being humble is mentioned in the second half of verse 4. “Anyone who becomes as humble as a little child” Jesus says. So I had to really think, how are little children humble? How do little children exhibit humility? Little children exhibit humility by having a trusting curiosity; they are filled with questions for which they really and truly want the answers too. And they ask those questions nonstop most times. Do you know what’s really interesting? – that little children do not hide behind an unwillingness to believe. They believe.
They believe whatever they are told even through all their questions. ‘Lil children believe. They believe what they are taught and told. Wow, think about this, my family. Do we as adults have a trusting curiosity and do we believe what we are told and taught by God through his word or workers? That’s WISE CHILDLIKENESS.
As I continued to ponder this I thought of how ‘lil children are like sponges, thinking of how they absorb everything around them. How they want to learn, and how they imitate the people they are around. How ‘lil boys imitate their daddies by pretending to shave their faces in the bathroom mirror or how they have toys that emulate different jobs.
I know my brother, he loved to pretend he was driving the car. He would steer the car back and forth, as it was parked in our driveway playing with all the knobs and buttons, imitating how my dad would drive our family’s car. Thinking of that reminded me of Ephesians5:1. I especially like how the NIV says it: Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
Here’s a thought, my family: Do we as adults follow the example of our heavenly father, do we copy the things he has showed us, emulating him? Do we imitate our heavenly Father like a well beloved child imitated their Father? That’s WISE CHILDLIKENESS.
Continuing on in study and thought, I pondered, what are some of the other qualities or characteristics that ‘lil children possess? And then something came to me; ‘lil children are bold and courageous. Why, once again I remember my ‘lil brother Eric, as ‘lil boy, I remember him climbing up the drawers on his dresser with his superman cape on and emulating flying like superman as he jumped from the top of the dresser to the bed.
And then I thought of how over and over again throughout the Bible, the Lord tells us – Only be bold and very, very courageous. In fact, in the books of Exodus, Numbers and Joshua he tells the children of Israel as well as their leaders of the time, Moses, then Joshua, to only be very bold and courageous. Think about it, my family, do we as adults share the words of the Bible and the instructions that the Lord has given us in his word with others boldly and courageously? Are we bold and courageous like ‘lil children?
My dear family, I know I can only speak for myself and I can tell you there have been many times in my life when I have been filled with questions. Questions I really and truly wanted and needed answers to. And at that time I went looking for those answers in God’s Word but over time and through the years I realized that I had lost the trusting curiosity I once had as a child when it came to God’s Word. I found that I had even developed an unwillingness to believe, and I learned to be skeptical of the answers I found in God’s Word because it was to outrageous to believe (in the natural world) – what would others think? I didn’t even realize that I had lost anything let alone the trusting curiosity and the willingness to believe that I once had as a child. And, in that moment, I remember that scripture in I Corinthians chapter 13 says:
“When I was a child, I spoke, I understood, I thought as a child; but when I became an adult, I put away childish things.”
I realize now that the different people, situations and circumstances I came in contact with throughout my life, they had changed me. They changed the way I thought and believed and acted. Thus, changing everything in my life when I put away those things my worldly mind said were childish, that’s when everything started to change and I didn’t even realize it. It wasn’t until many years and trials later that I learned that lesson, but that’s when I made a conscious decision to humble myself and trust God regardless of what I knew to be true according to the world’s standards. That’s when I started living according to God’s Economy; I started learning to live according to the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s when miracles started happening and my life began to change in amazing and miraculous ways.
My family, the Kingdom of Heaven is not the same as natural world it does not hold worldly standards. In the Kingdom of Heaven you believe it before you see it. In the Kingdom of Heaven you speak it before you possess it. When we do these things, change begins; our lives change a little at a time. From glory to glory and we ‘become” – WE BECOME. And through the power of the Holy Spirit we begin the process of “becoming” once again – like little children.
Just like Joyce Meyer says “We change from glory, to glory, to glory and that allows us to have our best life now, here on this earth.” That’s what Jesus died for us to have – an abundant life.
WISE CHILDLIKENESS – do you possess it? Humility – little children are humble; Trust – little children are trusting; Curiosity – little children are curious; Inquisitiveness – little children are inquisitive; Imitators- little children imitate their father; Believe – little children believe; Boldness – little children are bold; Courage – little children are courageous.
That’s WISE CHILDLIKENESS. How do you measure up? Each of us can only take our own inventory.
So let me leave you with a reminder and a little song my momma taught me when I was a ‘lil child.
And Jesus called a little child to him, and placed the child among them that were there. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. So, therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].