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Entering the kingdom as a child
- Jacob Ninan
It is one of those categorical statements Jesus made that unless we become like little children we shall not enter His kingdom (Mt.18:3). This is also linked to His statement that it would be more difficult for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter His kingdom (Mt.19:24). It would not be right to think that this means we need to be unthinking or gullible like children or poor in terms of wealth to enter God's kingdom.
A rich man can be in God's kingdom if he would place his trust in God rather than in his wealth or in himself (1Ti.6:17). The issue is about where he places his confidence, whether in God or in his 'riches'. We see how we tend to forget God or revel in self-confidence when we have money at our service or abilities, good health, influence or friends in high places (De.8:11,12). It is when these things fail, or become unreliable that people are usually cast upon to the Lord. What Jesus wants us to understand is that even when He blesses us with abundance our heart is to rest entirely on Him (1Pe.1:13).
A childlike characteristic that is linked to our relationship with God is trust. It is impossible to please God without it. A child trusts what his parents tell him and is willing to act accordingly. This is because he has not yet experienced disappointments with them or known their limitations or imperfections. The more we 'learn' and experience the more we tend to live according to our own understanding rather than according to what God says. God wants us to trust Him implicitly and do what He tells us (Pr.3:5-8).
Grown up people who feel capable in themselves look at different parts of God's words and say, "I don't agree with that!" What audacity! They have not come to recognise God for who He is. Even when they have been born again, their own concept of God seems to remain as if He is just some superman type with some extra-normal powers. But if we take time to sit and look at Him, and meditate on His creation and what He has been doing since them, we will learn to respect Him as God (Pr.2:1-5). Why do people find it difficult to believe that God stopped the Sun (or the Earth to be precise) for Joshua or parted the Red Sea for Israel except that they have not understood that He was the one who created the Earth, the Sun or the Red Sea in the first place and that He can even now do whatever He pleases (Ps.115:3)?
A childlike faith trusts in such a God, and has no problems in receiving His Word even if our understanding (or the lack of it!) seems to tell us otherwise. Without such faith how can we enter or walk in His kingdom when economic recessions, political chaos or sicknesses rage around us? Shall we not recognise that our 'great scientific knowledge' is just a tiny glimpse into His vastness and that too wrong and imperfect in many ways because science hasn't really 'arrived' yet? Shall we see ourselves as small children standing before our awesome Father?