I’m reading the Gospels during January and in Matthew 18:3-4 Jesus commands us to be like “little children”:
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
I was all too anxious to “grow up” and leave my childhood behind. But I’d lost that childlike sense of wonder and pure joy, letting the world’s standards and anxieties consume me and my thoughts. I’m concentrating on re-capturing those child-like qualities that I believe Jesus is referring to:
- Delighting in simple things like a glass of wine with a good friend
- Dancing in the kitchen just because there is music playing
- Going to sleep any place or any time when I’m tired rather than exhausted
- Trusting everyone when I meet them, not judging if they are bad/good or worthy/unworthy
- Not being afraid to take risks and fail (learning to walk is all about falling down)
- Not worrying about money, productivity, being cool, or relationships
- Trusting that God and others will help and care for me; receiving gifts joyfully
- Seizing opportunities to please God so that it overrides my self-centeredness and complacency
- Being in awe and amazed that Christ died and then rose from the dead for me
- Being curious, creative, imaginative and innovative to please God not to please others
- Being open to a world of possibilities
- Being real and sharing my “true self”
As adults we learn the world is cruel. We either start competing trying to prove that we are better than others, or we withdraw, guarding our hearts from ever being hurt again. Institutions and rules beat the childishness out of us, telling us that we always have to color within the lines.
When we become like children, we re-capture the trust, hope and unpretentiousness that we were born with, becoming curious again, delighting in every experience, and living in the present. We become more open to hearing God’s voice.
Humbling myself as a little child, I see each day as a new experience, living in the present and expecting to hear God’s voice guiding my way.
Oh, and I forgot the most important CHILD-LIKE quality:
I want to be teachable, assuming that I don't know everything and that every person I meet has something to share with me.