Become Like Little Children: Learn a Child’s Humility
Matthew 18:3-6 "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 this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea."
Christ later says in verse 10… "For I tell you that in heaven their (child's) angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father."
This is a powerful message from the wisest man to walk the Earth. And this is something we (Christian adults) really need to look at closely and reflect on. What does God see in a child that he brings them into his presence in heaven? Something about children provides us an example of what we should be doing during our short time on Earth. First, we have to focus and learn humility.
It still amazes me that accepting Christ makes you a child of the Heavenly Father. Yes, God is all powerful. He has always existed and always will. He perfectly created everything inside and outside of us including our eternal souls we are striving to save. God knows all, sees all, designed all; but at the end of the day, he is a Father. Parents get to witness and pray on the meaning of Christ’s words firsthand. Why? Because God gave us a way to experience parenthood.
How to learn humility from a child
As a father to two boys, I get to experience the joy of fatherhood. The best part is the unconditional love I have for my children. I get to see the joy and the pain of our Heavenly Father through raising my own children. What a blessing that God tells me to be like a child. Then he gives me an opportunity as an adult to experience fatherhood, witness the innocence of childhood, then take out my Bible to study and pray on how to change my life to be in the presence of God.
The innocence of child is something that brings me so much joy as a parent. Recently, my two-year-old child, Charlie, learned about David and Goliath in Sunday school. The only problem is he pronounces David in a way that is more like “Day-Met.” Adding in a bit of a southern twang. It is innocent, he has no concept of what he is saying. It’s funny to us, because of that innocence. If he were a teenager and said it out-loud, we would have a much different reaction. But at two, he has no concept of that word and is only trying to repeat one of the Bible’s most powerful stories.
This Biblical definition of innocence is not so much the lack of sin. It’s little Charlie’s unfamiliarity with evil and his purity of heart. I know, as adults, we may not be able to avoid the familiarity with the world. However, we can make a choice to join in or choose God and turn away from it. Turning away from the world through salvation means we are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; we become innocent again. But to bring God joy, we must be like little Charlie and turn away from the world to focus on him.
Our Changing World
I am sure countries around the world would question if the word humility is in the American dictionary; however, I do not doubt that the words to describe a Christian include humility, kindness, love, and generosity. A child does not understand pride. Unless taught, they will not understand the concept of racial inequality or socioeconomic status.
When I was growing up, I never thought of a child as poor or rich. I just saw a friend. Someone who liked to go out and play baseball until dusk. Accepting Christianity means that our very name takes on the responsibility of representing Christ in our thoughts and actions. If you have thought on it, I am sure you are aware of the magnitude that Christ was born into the family of a carpenter.
Jesus, the Son of the most powerful being to ever exist, did not know earthly wealth, possessions, status, or even a guaranteed meal. Talk about humility! God easily could have made Christ the son of the Roman Emperor, but instead, chose a life of humility. It is a struggle, but we cannot serve two “Gods.” If our pride is taking away from the one God of our life, we are taking away from the attention he deserves and giving it to ourselves.
We are not God, we have a duty toward self-preservation, but not to “self-worship.” Pride is exactly that and we have to learn humility. And as a father, would I rather my child be the one that brags on himself constantly, belittling those around him or do I want my child to give gratitude to those around him for helping him.
How to Learn Humility Through Prospective
If you are a parent, how does it feel when your child stands up after getting married or getting a diploma and thanks you publicly for their accomplishment? Why do we think God is any different? God is mighty, but he is also a proud father, and you ARE his child. Show him your humility and give him the recognition, even speak to him in prayer and tell him personally. I like to think I can feel it through my whole body when God smiles from something I said in prayer.
Innocence and humility, they come naturally to a child but adult’s struggle. So, if you are a parent, raise your child with these traits early and make their life so much easier. Put them on the path to remain in the presence of God and have faith that under our Heavenly Father, they will be cared after. As for ourselves, we must struggle every day to instill these traits into our mind and actions. It gets easier and easier, slowly becoming who we are and how we appear to others. Then we will be living a Christ-like example to others and reserving our seat in the presence of God.
As Kathleen and I were discussing this post, we thought about our oldest son JP and how he thanks us for folding his clothes. With every shirt Kat folds, it’s followed by a sweet little thank you. At four years old, he is thankful for his laundry and feels the need to tell his mom he appreciates her and all she does.
And when I pray with him at night, he has a “laundry” list of things to thank God for in his life. He thanks God for his favorite cartoons, for candy, for his Pawpaw getting to visit, even for some of the most random things like French fries. But it got us thinking, when do we stop this? When do we stop appreciating what God has provided us? When do we stop talking to God and thanking him for some of the smallest things like what we ate that day?
We both took away from this post that we needed to sit down and have a quiet moment with God. We both still have our parents, have never questioned where our next meal will come, and both of our sons are healthy, happy and loving children. And perhaps, during my prayer, I should just talk to God, like the loving Father he is, and talk his ear off about my day and the role I know he took in making it perfect. And it never hurts to learn humility, every day.
Photography and writing by Jon Frederick, Photographer for Seven11
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