Childish Christians

Matthew 18:3  “If you don’t change and become like a child, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (CEV)

We don’t consider it a compliment when someone tells us to stop acting like a child or to stop being childish. But in Matthew 18:3 Jesus said we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven unless we become like a child.

What did He mean? By examining the way a little girl relates to her earthly father, we can get some grasp of the spiritual message Jesus was trying to teach.

A little girl knows her daddy loves her. She does not hesitate to approach him and ask for help. Even though he is bigger and stronger, she does not fear him.

A little girl is sure daddy can fix anything. No matter what her problem may be, she has confidence her daddy can make it right.

A little girl is not ashamed to ask for help. She knows some problem are too big for her and she does not feel a loss of pride if she goes to daddy for assistance.

A little girl is proud of her daddy, and she tells everyone how strong and good he is. She is her daddy’s greatest fan and a walking advertisement of what a wonderful person he is.

Her confidence in her father is a reflection of our relationship with our heavenly Father. No matter where live, how much money we have or how slowed we may be by age or infirmity, we can still go to him just as the lass goes to daddy.

We can go to him with confidence because we know he loves us. We can be absolutely sure he has power to solve all our problems. We need never be too proud to ask for his help. He does not expect us to be self-sufficient. We should be very proud of him and tell others what a wonderful God and Father he is.

If we can tell friends and acquaintances that we have a wonderful earthly daddy and that we love him, how much more should we tell them about our love for our spiritual father?

Family Resemblance

“Then we will be mature just as Christ is and we will be completely like him.”  Ephesians 4:13 (CEV)

Family members tend to resemble each other. Children tend to look like their parents. Siblings tend to look like each other. Such similarities are more obvious in some families than others (and more welcome in some families than others.) But the genetic inheritance of physical characteristics is a fact of life.

Less obvious, but still very real, is the similarity of personalities within a family. People tend to think and behave like the people they live with. Our attitudes, preferences and priorities are shaped by our parents and other immediate family members.

In God’s family there are also family resemblances. Not physical similarities, to be sure, but a oneness of character and spirit that mimics the Father who has made each of us into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus set the pattern we are to follow in our everyday life. His personality and way of dealing with others is exactly what our heavenly Father expects of us. After all, each of us shares a common paternity with Jesus.

All Christians are members of the same family. God is our Father. Because we are his children we live, work, play and worship with each other. As God continues to shape us, our attitudes, preferences and priorities will become more like his. Increasing Christian maturity will be marked by an increasing similarity to our brothers and sisters.

Will we still display differences? Of course! Will we sometimes disagree? Without a doubt! But as we individually become more like Jesus (our oldest brother), we will increasingly become more like each other as we follow his command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31). Our spiritual growth can be measured by the extent to which we are in one accord with other spirit-filled members of our family (Acts 2:1).