Childlike, Not Childish

by Greg Laurie on May 11, 2024
I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.
—Luke 18:17

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s great to remember the examples mothers provide and the sacrifices they make for us. Our mothers have taught us so many things over the years.

For instance, they taught us about anticipation when they said, “Just wait until your father hears about this.” They taught us about stamina when they said, “You will sit there until you’ve finished all your vegetables.” And they taught us about the value of prayer when they said, “You’d better pray that stain comes out.”

In Matthew’s Gospel, we find an account of parents bringing their children to Jesus. And that is really what we are supposed to do as Christian parents. Our objective is to bring our kids to Christ.

However, we don’t do this by providing a bad example. Far too often, kids come from homes in which Jesus Christ is named but not followed. This hypocrisy drives children away from the Lord.

We bring our kids to Jesus by being genuine Christians and setting a good example for them. And when we mess up, we need to admit it and say we’re sorry. Another way we bring our children to Jesus is by praying with them, reading the Bible to them, and going to church with them.

Matthew tells us that when the children were brought to Jesus, the disciples inexplicably thought it was a bad idea. In fact, they started to rebuke the parents. Mark’s Gospel says that “when Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples” (10:14 NLT). Clearly, they had missed the memo on what Jesus was trying to communicate.

Only a few days earlier, He had interrupted their argument about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus had a little child stand up, and then He 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” (Matthew 18:3 NLT).

Yet here on this day as the children approached Jesus, His disciples were trying to send them away. And this made Jesus angry. He told them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:14 NLT).

According to Luke’s account, Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17 NLT).

That’s a fascinating statement because conventional wisdom would say that a child should become like an adult to know God. But according to Jesus, an adult must become like a child. That doesn’t mean we need to be childish. But it does mean we need to be childlike.

Children come to their parents in a state of helplessness. They’re aware that they can’t do a lot of things for themselves. In the same way, we should come to God in an acknowledgment of our complete helplessness and dependence on Him.

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