“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.'” Matthew 18:1-6
In a recent discussion at mid-week Bible Study, we put together a list of qualities of a child that speak of faith. Children of God should strive for these qualities.
Trusting “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
When I was a child, I used to hear my dad say, “I don’t understand” a lot. One day, when I was responsible for his affairs, I found myself saying the same thing. Immediately, God checked me by reminding me of this Bible verse.
Obedient- “To obey is better than sacrifice. To heed is better than the fat of the lamb.” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
When we learn about life, we learn all actions have consequences. When we obeyed our parents, things were better. The times I messed up, I knew I had to do all my chores quickly By doing this I tried to get in my mother’s good graces. Had I not gotten into trouble, my motive should have been more in line with doing the right thing rather than trying to get out of the ‘dog house.’
Loving- “And now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
As God’s children, we are to love everybody, even those who are unlovely. If left to our own strength, this can be hard to do. Have you ever tried to befriend someone who most people seemed to shy away from? Did the others make their thoughts about the person known to you? Were you able to love both the one you befriended and the ones who did not show any love?
I met a lady at church who told a group of us; “Jesus commands we love one another, however, we do not always like another person’s behavior.” I have thought of this idea many times over the years.
Forgiving- “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the LORD has forgiven you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
I ran across this verse several years ago. When I read it, I had to re-read it. I later learned we need to forgive others for our own sakes. A few years later, I had to choose to forgive a relative through Jesus. I could never discuss with her how I could forgive and not want to be around her.
Dependent- “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock and my refuge.” Ps. 62:7 (NIV)
As we grow in the Lord, we become more aware of our inability to be self-reliant. We learn through reading His Word that God tells us to forgive one another from our hearts. We have to learn to rely on Jesus. God guides us through each issue we face in our lives.
Humble- “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
As we mature in Christ we become less and He becomes more (John 3:30, NIV.) We look at ourselves with God’s eyes. In a word, we surrender. We give up the things we know about ourselves and turn them over to God.