“I [Jesus] tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Mathew 18:3 (NIV)
Little children are naturally trusting, honest, relational, loving, forgiving, vulnerable, and full of things to say. When we accept God’s offer of forgiveness for our sins through Jesus, we become His children. And He invites us to participate fully in a childlike relationship with Him—not an immature one—but one in which we take on the posture of a child in relationship with a loving parent. He wants to hang out with us, to listen to us chatter about our day, to hear our stories. He wants to know if we need anything and then promises to provide for us—sometimes in ways we recognize and sometimes in ways we don’t. He invites us to live in the moment while He manages the big picture.
Cast your anxiety on me, He says (I Peter 5:7), and then shoulders our burdens while He walks alongside us. He sets boundaries for our well-being, shows us which way to go, and is patient when we make mistakes—all the while loving us fiercely and joyously delighting in us. When we walk in this type of child/father relationship we find peace, joy, security, and a sense of truly belonging to someone. And it sets the stage for us to grow into healthy, mature followers of Christ.
No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again, Jesus tells Nicodemus (John 3:3).
Becoming like a child again with all the vulnerability and trust and openness of a little one in the care of his or her daddy, is what it means to be born again.
Father—because that’s what you are, you’re my heavenly father—thank you for loving me, caring for me, wanting to be with me. Thank you for pursuing me the way a parent pursues a relationship with a child. Help me to remember this every day. To remember that I have you, that it’s not just me out here doing life on my own. And thank you that you’re not distant from me, but that you are right here with me all the time.
For further study on this topic see Romans 8:15, Ephesians 1:3-5, and Zephaniah 3:17.