In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I think this verse suggests that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must have a simple, innocent, and trusting faith like that of a child. It may also imply that as we grow older, we become more skeptical, cynical, and less trusting. Being skeptical, cynical, and less trusting makes it harder for us to connect with God.
What Traits of Little Children Should We Embrace
Faith of a Child
Children may believe in things they can’t see or understand, such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. They understand that the wind exists, they feel it against their skin but can’t see it. Some children have an invisible friend they talk and play with. This ability to believe in unseen things can be transferred to a belief in God, who is unseen but always present.
Trusting Like A Child
Have you ever told a child that you would take them to get an ice cream cone? You said it, therefore it must be true. Children trust and rely on their parents to provide food for them and keep them safe from harm. They don’t understand all the complexities of life, but they trust that their parents will take care of them. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking they forgot that ice cream cone, they’ll remind you every five minutes until you fulfill your promise.
Childlike Wonder and Joy in Life
Have you ever watched a child’s eyes light up with excitement? Take them to the ZOO and watch their eyes as they see a Tiger up close. See how they are in awe of the ocean on a trip to the beach. Children will dance in delight when they see snow start to fall from the sky. Just as children are easily excited and filled with wonder at the world around them, so should we approach life with a sense of awe and appreciation for its beauty and goodness. Take a few moments to look out your window, and be in awe and wonder at God’s creation.
Children aren’t burdened with ego and pride like a lot of adults, and they are more willing to learn, grow, and admit when they are wrong. They seem willing to forgive and forget and don’t hold lifelong grudges. Children can show us the power of forgiveness. They don’t seem able to hold on to anger and resentment and have the ability to let it go and move on. One minute they will be upset with their little friend for taking one of their toys, and the next minute they are laughing and playing together.
Children Are Content with the Present
Unless you ask a child what he/she wants to be when they grow up, they never talk about the future. They don’t have the worries and anxieties of the future or regrets of the past. Children seem to have the ability to live in the present and find joy in the simple things. A small bouquet of wildflowers is just as pretty to them as the most expensive flower arrangement you could buy. Instead of always striving for more, we can learn to appreciate what we have and be content with where we are in life.
15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Becoming like little children is not about being childish or immature. We should embrace certain positive qualities and attitudes such as faith, trust, wonder, humility, forgiveness, joy, and living in the present moment. These qualities can help us to deepen our relationship with God and improve our overall well-being and happiness in life.