Becoming Like a Child

I’ve been studying Matthew this fall and winter, and I’ll be continuing in the study in the Spring, but I just wanted to stop and share something that I recently found helpful.

I was reading in Matthew chapter 18, and once again encountering a verse that has been one that has troubled me in the past.  The verses are Matthew 18:2-3, and this verse says:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I always wanted to know how it was truly that God wants us to become like children.  So, I was excited to discover in Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 18 something that was really helpful.  Seeing that Matthew Henry’s writings are public domain, I thought it would be great to share it here in case anyone comes looking for something like this.  I’m going to be paraphrasing, but scripture references are all from him.

The first part is that even though Jesus wants us to become like children there are some things that Jesus doesn’t want us to be.  After all, we’re all acquainted with our own children’s negative qualities, right?  Jesus doesn’t want us to be:

  • Foolish (I Corinthians 14:20)
  • Fickle (Ephesians 4:14)
  • Playful (Matthew 11:16)

However, there are some great qualities that children have innately that Jesus wants us to emulate.  These qualities are:

  • a desire for the sincere milk of the word (I Peter 2:2)
  • to be careful for nothing but leave it to the heavenly Father to take care of us (Matthew 6:31)
  • to be harmless, inoffensive and void of malice (I Corinthians 14:20)
  • to be governable and under command (Galatians 4:2)
  • to be humble (Romans 12:16)
  • to behave and quiet ourselves (Psalms 131:1-2)

I found myself, as I was reading though this list and looking up the scripture, pricked in my heart in several places.  So, I made myself a flap for my Bible so that I could put a permanent reminder in there when I’m looking and trying to remember what it is that this verse should remind me.

Becoming Like a Child


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