In Matthew 18:1-6, Jesus gives some very important qualifications for those who would enter the kingdom of heaven. He would say, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Notice that this is something all who wish to enter that heavenly abode must do. But what did Jesus mean when he said that all who would enter heaven must become as little children? Surely he did not mean that those converted to him must act childish and immature. Rather he meant that those who are converted to him must be “childlike”. There is a vast difference from being “childish” and being “childlike”. With these thoughts in mind, let us look at three qualities of children:
1) One of the most outstanding qualities of a young child is his humble spirit. Young children have not yet learned what pride is. Those who wish to live for eternity in the presence of Almighty God must employ this same attitude of humility. As adults, we often trust in our own abilities all too much, refusing (because of stubborn pride) the help of those who truly can help us. This is all too often the case when it comes to salvation. We must turn to the One, and only One, who can save us–God. We must obey what He has set out for us to do (1 Samuel 15:22; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Hosea 6:6; Acts 4:19-20; Acts 5:29) . We must never think that we are “above” that which God would have us do. Without humility, we will never access the grace of the Almighty (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). Is your pride more important than your soul? (Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 16:26).
2) A young child trusts with all his heart that his parents will be there for him in his time of need. A child trusts that his father will be there for him when he takes those first steps, or takes his first ride on his new bike. A child trusts that his mother will be there for him when he scrapes his knee, or when the other kids are picking on him. Those who would enter into that heaven must, too, manifest a simple, loving trust in the One who loves us and died for us. When God makes a promise, we should trust Him to see it through. When I do what He has told me through His word, I can rest assured and trust with all my heart that He will uphold what He has promised. I can also rest assured that He will be there for me in times of need, in times of rejoicing, in times of despair. God is faithful and will not forsake His children (Hebrews 13:5). Do you trust in God?
3) Have you ever seen two children engaged in a tussle, shouting to each other that they hate one another, only to see them five minutes later playing together as best friends, as if nothing ever happened. Children are so quick to forgive one another, while at the same time they are very quick to forget. Those who desire to live with God for eternity must manifest a similar attitude of forgiveness. The child of God must be willing to forgive those who repent of their wrongdoing if they wish to be forgiven of their sins by the Father (Matthew 18:21-22; Ephesians 4:32).
In closing, do we manifest the same forgiving attitude toward others that God manifests toward us (Matthew 6:14-15)?