Child-likeness (like a child, especially in having a sweet, innocent, unspoiled quality.)
Playing in the rain, making mud pies, laying in the grass and finding ‘pictures’ in the clouds. Going to grandma’s house, playing with my doll, blowing bubbles, running through the sprinklers. Playing in the creek and catching frogs. Most of those things can be summed up as child-likeness, not having a care in the world.
Matt 18:3-4 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now, as always, God [discloses] himself to “babes” and hides himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond. A.W. Tozer
Sounds easy enough to “simplify our approach to him”. How do we become as little children? How do we restrain our ambitions and our desires to be the greatest? How do we rein in our pride? Is it fair to say we struggle with wanting to be the strongest, wanting to have the most power, be the most influential?
To become like little children we have to be changed. Change involves child-like traits such as trust and humility. Even the disciples argued over which one of them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They had not yet understood that the kingdom was not an earthly kingdom.
We have to do our best not to want worldly ambition. We must learn to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things” as mentioned in Col 3:2
Mark 9:35 “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
We don’t have to deny the gifts God has given us, if we use them in humbleness we glorify God and we encourage and build up others.
Child-likeness is similar to like-mindedness. Consider Phil 2:1-5 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Last Sunday night in our small group meeting, I saw a beautiful example of the innocence of a child. My husband Larry was asked to pray. We were sitting, gathered in a circle. Joe, who is either 5 or 6, is the youngest son of our youth minister. He sat with his little hands tightly clasped, eyes closed and head leaning against the back of his chair. After the ‘Amen’ heads were raised and we looked at Joe. His hands remained clasped in prayer and his eyes remained closed. We all waited for a moment thinking he was still praying. We soon realized he was fast asleep. He must have been in that exact same position close to 15 minutes before his little head started bobbing around as he fell into a deeper sleep. That image has stayed with me all week. It was an extremely precious sight