I was at a memorial service recently that prompted me to think of the biblical verse that says, you must be like a child to get into the kingdom of heaven.
It’s Matthew 18:3 and Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
At this memorial service, the “minister” began to share with those in attendance stories of what the dearly departed was doing …
… She was at one with the universe, her spirit smiling down on us, zooming to and fro in her new intergalactic BMW, having “morphed” into some kind of energy field.
I so wanted to ask the minister if she, herself, took the train to the other side often, seeing as how she knew intimately about the dearly departed’s comings and goings.
Thankfully, God is everywhere, if we just look around us.
In the midst of the minister’s grand plaudits and storytelling, there, on a stage surrounded by white lilies, stood a photograph of the deceased as a teenager.
The photograph stood out in contrast to the person’s advanced age and crippling infirmities at death.
It was a sweet, innocent photo of a beautiful girl from a more innocent time.
And it dawned on me. Of course, God wants us to come before Him as children, because children are innocent, and trust with a pure, uncorrupted heart.
What Does it Mean to Go Before God as a Child
To go before God as a child is to go before God stripped of our sins and doubts, full of wide-eyed inspiration that comes from total faith.
Is God going to be there when I need Him? A child would say, “Yes!”
To go before God as a child is to expect awe-inspiring greatness.
Let’s visit Matthew 18:3 again.
Jesus said, unless you change and become like a child.
Webster’s dictionary describes “childlike” as “becoming a child; meek; submissive; dutiful.”
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
God seeks a childlike submissiveness and meekness, a gleeful childlike heart … and a childlike faith.
Faith builds character, and the process starts when you are a child. Without faith, we cannot please God.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Adults have a tendency to become cynical with age, while a child has yet to be touched by the concerns of the world.
Think of the world as a big arena. We are in it to run “life’s race” for and with God.
But the older we get, the more “hurdles of doubts and concerns” we tend to place in front of us.
These hurdles slow us down, knock us off stride, or make us give up completely in what should be a growing relationship with God.
Whereas an adult is more likely to give up the race, a child sees the prize at the finish line.
As you near the end of your adult life, can you look forward as a child and say, as Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Children don’t have adult hurdles in their race with God.
Childlike faith, along with childlike love, are an open road to God’s heart.
What Qualities Does a Child Have?
- A child is innocent.
- A child is trusting.
- A child believes without complication.
- A child has not had time to allow the preconceived notions of the world to form his decision-making process.
- A child receives with joy, forgetting herself with light-hearted abandonment.
- A child is humble.
- A child is content in the little things.
- A child has the faith to move mountains.
- A child is awed by majestic splendor.
- A child takes to heart God’s Word in all its simplicity.
Think of God and the child as one would a child with his parents.
Children, full of innocence, come to their loving father and mother, trusting them to completely take care of them, to protect them, to provide for them, to correct them when they are wrong, and to love and cherish them.
Jesus is telling us that we need to have this type of trust and faith in the Father. After all, we are His children.
We should be able to come to him fully trusting, without a doubt, that He loves us and cares for us.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
God reminds us in His Word that we are indeed his children.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
Like a child, we should come before the Father, fully trusting in His Word, fully engaged in His Spirit, fully open to His love and His commandments.
Be changed. Repent and leave your baggage at God’s doorstep.
Then you can come before your wonderful God, arms and hearts wide open, loving and trusting as a child.