LIKE A LITTLE CHILD? REALLY?
“….unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Even for many of those who are reasonably familiar with this passage from the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 18, verse 3), these words of JESUS are difficult.
For one, how can a child really be “converted”? Does not ‘conversion’ entail being “born again” as JESUS told Nicodemus in the Gospel of John, chapter 3?
‘Conversion’ by its very nature presumes something old being transformed into something new.
When a little child sees something or is told something, they simply accept it. Children are trusting. And why is that?
A little child’s mind is like a huge mixing bowl full of clear fresh water. When they see something or are told something, it drops into that bowl of clear fresh water. There is really nothing else in that bowl of water that keeps them from being able to see it or understand it for anything other than what it is. To them it is a TRUTH. They accept it and believe it.
Say you promised your 3 year old you were going to take him to the park tomorrow to play. He’s excited. He believes you. For him, that is a ‘truth’ which he unquestionably accepts.
However, something comes up and you can’t fulfill that promise.
Then a few days later, you make him the same promise.
Now, the water in that bowl is no longer clear. It has been corrupted by a “however”, a doubt. Consequently, he will find it more difficult to unconditionally accept what you have told him. It may happen. It may not.
From the time of our birth until we reach adulthood, that once clear bowl of water gets filled with all the times we have been lied to, deceived, and disappointed. In fact, it is a tribute to the genius of our creation that we can ever believe anything?
How then can we understand JESUS’ words:
“….unless you become converted and become as little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The key to understanding this is the word ‘obedience’.
“Obedience” was in our DNA (our Divine Nature) originally, but it was destroyed by “disobedience”. (If you don’t know this story, it is in the first five chapters of the book of Genesis.)
In everything God created, there was an order about it that had to be followed for it to do what God created it to do. Some call it the “Created Order”.
For example, there were creatures who were created to live in water. If they failed to do so, they failed to fulfill the purpose for which they were created.
Birds were designed to fly, worms to crawl, bees to make honey, etc., etc., etc.,
Certain plants are indigenous to particular climates and soil configurations. Others have to be planted at certain times of the year and have to receive a certain amount of sun to thrive.
All of creation is subject to certain laws and principles that were instituted by GOD at the time HE created them. We humans are not exempted from them.
We were created to glorify our creator, to love HIM and to be loved by HIM. When we obey HIS will, just like the fish, the birds, the worms, and the bees, we are fulfilling the purpose for which we were created and we thrive. And when we don’t, we don’t.
There is only one human being who ever lived who perfectly fulfilled the purpose for which HE was created, and that is JESUS CHRIST, the SON OF GOD. (John 15:10)
GOD sent HIM to earth to show us what total and perfect obedience looked like.
But the Bible tells us there was another reason. It was that HIS Spirit (the HOLY SPIRIT) could be released from Heaven to be available to us here on earth to help US….BE obedient. (John 16:5-10;14:16 & 26)
Now, let’s go back to the little child and the bowl of clear water.
Just like the father made his child a promise, GOD, our Father in Heaven has made US a promise. And because our bowl of water has been so corrupted, there is only way we can and will believe it to be the ‘truth’ that it is.
And how is that? It is so simple as to be difficult to believe. In fact, many fail to believe it because it IS so simple.
Our bowl of water has to be made clear again.
That happens when we are born again.
And that happens when we confess our sins to GOD, ask HIM to forgive us of our sins, and tell HIM that like the fish, the birds, the worms, and the bees, we are willing to submit to HIS created order so that we TOO can live the life HE created us to live.
And yes, it is the HOLY SPIRIT who cleans out our bowl.
Then, like a child, we are able to believe the Father’s promise.
OH! REALLY? Hmm…