Matthew 18: 2-4
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 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. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is something very interesting about the adaptive nature of man. The world is evil and the more we live in it the more we start to experience it and the more we start to even practice it. Our Adaptive wings are not clipped from flying the evil way, sadly, except obviously, we have Christ and hence are alive to the goodness that comes with Godliness. When a child is born, sadly, he/she faces the reality of knowing that goodness does not really pay in this world. The more you try to know the more you know how bad the world truly is. I look at it like, the closest being to ideality is a new born baby. As the new born baby grows to the world and starts to know, he starts to move away from ideality.
In the opening scripture, it is clear that what makes us not to be like little children is sin. Sin activated the senses in the beginning but now it is the senses activating sin. There are so many characteristics in little children that even us, who are adults can learn from them. If you think that learning from children is belittling what about learning from ants (Proverbs 6:6-8). Though God has created us to have dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26) and parents to train the child (Proverbs 22:6), this those not stop us from learning from them. You can learn from anything even the children. In fact, there is so much to learn from them some of which I will outline in this post;
And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father
- A child is Most Comfortable in the Presence of His/Her Parents: A child always wants to be with his/her parents. He/She wants to always be in their arms. Children are well known for their cries on their first day at school. They will often cry after their mum lives them. How do you feel when you are not in the presence of the Lord? God is our father and we should always yearn to be in His presence. The Psalmist said, “I was glad when they said to me Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1).
- A child is Willing to Learn: The will-power of a child is so strong. A child always bombards his teacher, parents or whoever is on the scene with countless questions on everything including “why the moon is following the car?” and then you say, because the moon is everywhere and because the car is moving and the moon is stationary, so it seems like the moon is moving when the car moves. The child may go again, but how can that be? What questions are we asking God? Sometimes we read the bible and yes there are somethings that are not very clear but isn’t it awesome that we have the right to ask the author of the book (The Holy Spirit) what he meant here and there. Like a child, there is never a stupid question and the Holy Spirit knows all things and knows the best way to answer whatever question that might be. You see maybe I couldn’t really explain why the moon seems to be moving to that child but then the Holy Spirit is ever willing to explain His book to you. So yes ask the childish questions and open your heart to learn more about His word.
- Papa and Mama: I remember when I was growing up and the first thing I did when I wake up was to say Migwo (good morning) in English to my parents and it was so compulsory then that I got scolded if I didn’t. However, this has changed a bit as this rule is not as strict as it is now. Another is usually the first words of a child is usually mama or papa. The fact is if you do acknowledge that you have a father and a mother then the first thing you have to do is to recognize his presence and say papa and mama each morning before anything else. Hallelujah!
- Daring and Courageous: There was a time I was on a flight from Edinburgh to Manchester and the plane was experiencing a whole lot of turbulence, it was so crazy and I had never experienced anything like it. I was on the plane with my mum and three other siblings. We all were terrified except my youngest sister. My mum said something to me that day, she said, “If she knows what is happening she will not be laughing like this.” My youngest sister was laughing so hard and the plane was shaking even more. When I re-visited this verse again (the opening scripture) this picture was replayed again. In the face of all of these ,she was not moved by anything. As Christians, there will be turbulences that will come and shake your faith flight but as a child ,you have to laugh your way through the journey because you know that with Christ you are getting to your destination. Remember how Peter almost fell when Jesus told him to come. Though his faith got weaker along the journey Jesus caught Him when He was about to fall (Matthew 14:29-31). A strong belief in who your father is will make you daring and courageous.
- The Infant Mind Mostly Tells the Truth: Again, I will have to go home to buttress this point. In my family, we have very sneaky fellows and I can be at times. Sometimes, we cooperate to cover each other’s back. However, my dad had a secret weapon; my youngest sister, as he knew that she will always tell the truth. With time, however, as she started to grow older we started to buy her to our side with candy and other things. Though we played devil’s advocate and it is something we shouldn’t have done or thought her. We believe by the grace of God He has forgiven us. The devil is really still using this same strategy to draw us away (buying us to his side with candy). Just the same way he tempted Jesus by showing him the whole world, the devil is trying to buy the children of God with “silly” things to make us deviate from the truth.
- Infants do not Classify People: Infants do not classify people. They are unaware of the social strata. Whether someone is poor or rich, weak or strong, beautiful or not so beautiful and so on… they will not mind asking you questions.
- Infants ask the why Questions: This is somehow related to the first point made but it is so important I had to make the point again. The why question is the most important question one could ask as this gives the purpose for a particular action and somehow the purpose answers the how, what and when.
There are so many things we can learn from infants that I have not learnt and I have not been able to mention in this post. The word cute is one word often used to refer to some of their actions: caring, ultra happy, truthful and energetic. To be a child you first need a father, and this father we have in the Lord. The best part is no matter how old you get you are always the child of your parents. Shalom!