Jesus taught His followers not to look down on children just because they are immature, weak or naive, but to consider that entry and success in the Kingdom of God is benefitted by certain child-like qualities, like humility. It is a typical paradox of the Christian faith, to regard people who are humble enough to learn, humble enough to trust, humble enough to obey, and humble enough to serve, as being wise and spiritually superior. Indeed, those who adopt a child-like acceptance of Christian principles, are more highly valued in the Kingdom of God than those who are intent on seeking power, glory, position and pride, by the rules of their own making. We can become useful and pleasing to God when we balance our growth to be both God-smart and spiritually prosperous, and street-smart and materially prosperous; thereby adding value and making contributions to God’s work on earth.
With God’s general purposes for us in mind, let us reflect on what it is like to be young, and how child-like qualities could assist us to better relate with Him. We have discussed how being humble promotes Christian conversion, how being trusting and dependent promotes son-ship, and how being eager to learn and grow facilitates purpose. These child-like qualities help our soulful transition from Earth to Heaven, from innocence to wisdom, from care-free to responsible, and from weakness to strength, all while keeping our faith intact. And in all these things, God’s grace assists the humble and lifts us up so that our soul prospers, even in the face of life's uncertainties and difficulties. God is able to make all things work together for our good, sometimes good means getting us to the point of entering His Kingdom like a child.
Humble children are well suited to being shaped by their parents and elders into becoming persons of virtue and character. They are teachable and correctable, quite unlike some adults who are full of pride, conceit, ambition and self-indulgence. In Ephesians 4, Paul reveals that the purpose of our new birth is to give us a new self, created to be good, pure and godly, as God’s much loved children. As we proactively embrace this new self from the inside out, God will assist us to mirror Him in all ways, for us to grow to become like His Son Jesus Christ, in whom He was well pleased. We can’t see God because God is not a physical being like us, but our actions can mirror His Son's, and similarly please Him. For all intents and purposes we are His workmanship, therefore we are wise to choose to live to please Him and to beautify our souls with humility, unselfishness and holiness.
Since we are all different in personality and disposition, our growth is individualistic. But since all of us are wanting to please God, we also hope that we’ll become wise and beautiful souls in our own individual ways. Our individual talents and gifts combine to add value to the body of Christ through the co-operation and contribution and performance of good works. Practical forms of good deeds and good gifts are an essential element of loving our neighbors and walking by faith. The Apostle Paul thanked the Philippians for "... the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God." (Philippians 418 NIV)
Christians are re-born to become God’s children, not focused solely on being materialistic, but intent on becoming spiritually rich, free of corruption, and being disposed to exhibiting Christ-like qualities, regardless of our age. It is marvelous to think that Jesus referred to His followers and those who put His words into practice, as brothers. We are brothers, related to Him by spiritual birth, identical in purpose, and fellow heirs of God.
As children of God, we look up to our heavenly Father and put our confidence in His greatness, His ability and especially His promises to continue to work in us and our lives by the power of His Spirit. And regardless of our level of achievements, it is our aspirations to be godly, with pure hearts of devotion and admiration, as befitting of being His beloved children, that will ensure we remain obedient, humble, dependent and purposeful.