There’s really a lot in this section, but most of it is Jesus’ teaching that we must become humble like little children, or we “will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Strong words. Then he says if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in him to stumble, it is better that he have a “large millstone hung around his neck and he be drowned in the sea.” Stronger words. He is fiercely protective over his “little ones.” And then his final thoughts, “your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”
What I was really meditating on in this Scripture is the disciples’ question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The disciples get knocked a lot, but I also think that is probably a question not far from all of our hearts. “What makes someone great in the kingdom?” Perhaps pride was their motivation in asking. Perhaps it’s they wanted to be great somehow. Or maybe they just wanted to know who was tops–Elijah, Moses, etc…
But regardless, Jesus answers the question not by giving them a pecking order of who is on top, but he tells them the greatest are those who live humbly like children. So much so that if you do not become like little children, there is no place for you in the kingdom of heaven.
This is all easy to read, but how do I apply this in my own life? Humility seems about as easy to get a handle on as a greased pig at the county fair. I long for humility, even pray for it, but pride seems to be a driving force. More than once person has pulled me aside to tell me how prideful I am. I always agree. Even for Adam he said the three things that trip mankind up are the “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”
I’m on the journey towards humility. Without question it is Jesus’ who changes the heart. But we definitely can be responsive to him in this process. As an example, for me personally, the more I loathe myself, the more pride rears its ugly head. But the more I have self-respect, it seems like humility comes closer to reach. I’m not acting out of hurt and rejection, but doing as the Scripture says of ‘loving others as I love myself.’ We often tend to brush over the part, but I realize that as I begin to love myself in a healthy way, it empowers me to love others in a more loving and humble way.
Well that’s the quite the deviation, but I do want to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Change my heart, O God. Make it ever new. Change my heart O God, May I be like You.”
Memorized: Matthew 18:1-20 (Feb 21)