One of the metaphors the Bible uses in depicting how believers must be is like little children. God wants us to be childlike…not childish. To be childish means to be immature but when we use the word child-like, it brings into perspective the more positive aspects of being a child.
1 Corinthians 14:20 refers to childishness but Luke 18:16 refers to childlikeness.
What does it mean to be like a little child?
“But Jesus called them to Him and said “let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of God”” Luke 18:16
Have you ever upset a little child before and yet they see you the next day and run to you? I remember sometime last year, we had a family gathering and my little cousin was being naughty. His dad spanked him a little and as he started crying, he turned towards his dad to hug him. The first thing that came to my mind was “this man is literally the reason you’re crying right now but here you are hugging him?” It was then it became clear to me what Luke 18:16 was implying. Little children are very forgiving and when they do forgive, they forget. I don’t mean the amnesia type of forgetting; I mean they do not hold on to grudges.
This is how God wants us to be, forgiving and not holding on to grudges. God is not calling us to do something He cannot or has not done. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The moment we came to repentance, God forgave us completely as though we had never wronged Him. Remember the story of the prodigal son, that mirrors God’s nature and the nature He desires we walk in since we now have access to it in Christ Jesus. (2 Peter 1:3-4; Luke 15:20-23)
Does it ever annoy you how awfully honest children are? Like there is no in between for them, it’s either this or that. They tell you things as they are! You could ask a child “why are you late to school” and the child retorts “because my mom was doing her makeup for 2 hours”. At that moment, the mother may feel slightly embarrassed but the child couldn’t care less, he is all about saying things as they are. This is not a go ahead to start sharing information that could embarrass people around you oo, just because you want to tell the truth. The point I’m making is that we must be honest people. With age comes a lot of situations that may tempt you to tell “white lies” or “half-truths” however, there is no such thing. What is not true is a lie. Being like a little child means being honest, even if it means you paying a price. We cannot claim to be God’s children if we are still comfortable telling lies because Jesus said that Satan is the father of all liars. (John 8:44 AMP)
More often than not, little children are humble. They are not ashamed or too pompous to ask for help. They show it when they’re in situation they can’t handle. If you come across a child who always wants to do things her way or who clearly needs assistance but would rather not ask, you would most likely be concerned that why is the child that way, yes? Adults tend to want to prove that they know their way and they can handle things themselves and this the problem. God does not want us to have the “I can do it by myself” mentality, He does not want us to hide it when we have challenges. God does not want us to be too proud to ask for help. Be humble like a little child, acknowledge your weakness and seek ways to overcome it. So many Christians put themselves through unnecessary distress just because they are too proud to confess that they actually need help. (James 1:5; Jeremiah 17:7)
“Asking for help is an act of brave humility, a confession that these human bodies and minds that we inhabit are frail and imperfect and broken”.~ Anonymous
The one trait that virtually all children have is curiosity. They want to know the “whys”, “how’s”, “when’s” and “what ifs”. Little children are open to learning and growing. God desires that we desire spiritual matters in that way. With the same enthusiasm and consistent excitement little children have, we should also desire spiritual knowledge and growth in such manner. In 1 Peter 2:2 Apostle Paul even likened the word of God to milk and metaphorically told us to desire it like new born babies. There is a need to be consistent and enthusiastic with our desire to learn at the Lord’s feet.
This is what it means to be childlike…at least in the spiritual sense of it. The honesty, humility, knowledge-seeking and forgiving nature or children is what God desires from us. We must replicate these things as they are in God’s nature and in the new nature we have received. Also, the Holy Spirit within us enables us to bear these fruits, He stirs up the desire in us too (Galatians 5:22-23). All these things aren’t farfetched, Jesus lived this way when he lived on earth in flesh and He allowed us to have the Holy Spirit so that we can also live in such manner.
“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” Mark 10:15