While attending the 4th of July parade in my hometown this year, I had the opportunity to watch my new mentors in action. No, it wasn't the politicians…or the beauty queens….and especially not the high school reunion partiers. It was—the children.
Kids are the most unlearned, unpretentious, unstudied, simple people on the planet, yet Jesus told us that they have something important to teach us adults. In fact, He said if we want to enter the Kingdom, we must become like the children.
What did He mean exactly? I've made it my habit to study kids lately to find out (you should try this at home). While there are childlike qualities that we can use for interacting with others (for instance, forgiving easily), let's focus on the ways children can teach us to interact with and approach God.
Kids will take whatever you have to give them. At the parade, I saw masses of kids running up to the floats, hands outstretched, waiting for whatever the participants were giving away. They didn't care what it was—if it was being given to them they wanted it. How God wants me to come, arms and hands outstretched, pressing in and waiting for more of Him. Not more of what He can do for me, but simply just more of the daily gifts of His presence, reassurance, and love.
No amount is enough—they don't have restraint. Those kids never got their fill. They ran tirelessly back and forth, big grins on their faces as they brought the booty to mom and dad. I never want to get enough of God. I want to be tireless to seek His presence!
They are full of wonder. I love the expressions of children as they encounter just about anything in their day. They are constantly full of the wonder of discovering life through new eyes. I want that kind of awe in the way I approach God. May I really see sunrises, flowers, clouds, thunderstorms, and stars, as if for the first time, through childlike eyes and wonder in my everyday life.
They trust easily. For me, this beautiful side of becoming childlike will be reserved for my trustworthy God alone, for even Jesus did not put His trust in humans (John 2:24). He is the only One I can fully trust, but I can do it with abandon and confidence. As I trust Him, I am able to open my life to people even in the face of hurt, knowing He will work all things together for my good.
They are quick to believe anything. Why not put this great quality to use believing the simple truth taught in the Scriptures that, "Jesus Christ gave His life as a ransom for all, the testimony to be given in due time" (1 Tim. 2:6)? A child would know exactly what that says and what it means. If I'm being childlike, I can confidently believe everything He tells me in His Word.
They have nothing to hide. God wants my openness, honesty, and authenticity before Him. He doesn't want me choosing my words carefully, manipulating, or hiding from Him.
While some of these childlike characteristics can and sometimes do hurt children when interacting with humans (which is why we tend to lose them as adults), none of them will ever hurt any of us as we interact with God. Remember, He says we must be like children to enter the Kingdom. Let us become like children again in the presence of our good and trustworthy God!