At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." ~~Matthew 18:1-4
I never understood what it meant to humble yourself like a child until I had my own children. And even then, I didn't get the lesson until baby #5.
If I've learned anything about Christianity, it's that God wants us to be humble. He calls Himself humble (Matthew 11:29), and calls us to be the same. Paul teaches in his epistles we must be like Christ. John the Apostle says we must walk as He walked. Anyone who reads the Gospels can tell you Yeshua was a humble man.
He had no permanent home. Likely, He only had one set of clothing. He ate at the home of whomever invited Him over. He didn't have two coins to rub together. Rarely did He sleep on a bed. And He said not a word to His accusers.
But He compares our humility to that of a child. We must become like little children. What, exactly, does that mean?
Children can make friends with anyone. Spend five minutes with them and you're their best friend. They might even declare how much they love you. They don't care how loud they are, and they don't care who hears them. They're not ashamed of who they are and they're not ashamed of who their father is. They trust openly, and forgive easily. They're in awe of the world around them. Everything is new and fresh, and a dandelion is as amazing as a rose. Their God is too awesome for words. He can do anything. Nothing is too hard for their God. The faith of a child is complete, praying to the Lord without a single thought their request won't come true. Anything is possible. The sky is the limit.
In short - they are not proud. They are not jaded. They are full of love, friendship, and wonder. And they believe with all their heart God hears them. That He is all-powerful. And yet... they wouldn't hesitate to run and give Him a hug.
Yeshua wants us to love like that. He wants us to believe like that. He wants us to have faith like that. He wants us to be in awe like that.
He wants to chip away at our cynicism, break off our doubt, and crumble our disillusionment. He wants us to love Him so much, that our love for Him tints our entire world through child-like glasses. Every time we gaze at the night sky, every time we watch an eagle soar, every time we hold a rock, He wants us to be filled with wonder and excitement and absolute LOVE for Him.
When a child has stability and loving parents, their little world is perfect. If they have a problem, they run to Mommy or Daddy. If they have a boo-boo, it will be kissed, if they have a bad dream, they will be cuddled. If they are scared of thunder, they'll run into their parents' arms.
God wants the same with us, HIS children. He wants to provide for you, protect you, and love you. And He wants you to have life more abundantly (John 10:10). I believe humbling ourselves like little children IS the abundant life. When we look around and see God's fingerprint on everything, when we can trust Him so utterly that we cling to Him when the going gets tough, that we find joy in even the most mundane of places, that's when we live an abundant life through our love for God.
That's when we're His children. That's when He's our Abba. (Romans 8:15)