What does Jesus mean in Matthew 18:3 about entering the kingdom like little children?
Becoming childlike requires putting aside our free will and relying entirely upon the Holy Spirit’s direction. This way, our opinions, and misconceptions do not prevent us from trusting God wholeheartedly.
A child understands that they do not always know what is best. Children often have very little control over their own lives. They embrace the fact that they must put their trust in other people. They trust what their parents, teachers, or other adults say without doubts or fear. For example, when young children are shown something new they cannot explain, their eyes light up with wonder, marveling at the new revelation.
Adults, on the other hand, are far more skeptical than children. The childlike faith and sense of wonder are often lost as we grow up.
There is something essential about a childlike perspective that pleases the Father and empowers a person to enter the kingdom, but what is this youthful perspective that Jesus has in mind?
We throw terms around like “childlike faith,” but Jesus never mentions faith. He is answering a question about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of God. I am not saying that faith has nothing to do with it, but Jesus did not put emphasis on faith. He emphasized a perspective that significantly affects our ability to trust in Him.
Is it possible that becoming like a little child means that we maintain the sense of wonder and innocence of a child that living in this sinful world tends to squeeze out of us?
Could it be that Jesus is talking about living without being self-conscious, without guile, being open about our feelings and emotions, having an undefiled conscience, and living life with excitement and boundless energy? Could He be referring to childlike inquisitiveness, vivid imagination, and creativity? Or a heart that is humble, joyful, hopeful, tender, loving, gentle, quick to forgive, and willing to believe the best of every person?
These qualities tend to define a child but get quickly stripped from us as we mature and become more “self-aware,” encountering the sin and brokenness of our fallen world.
Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto
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