I planned to write this on Saturday, but as I typed the very first letter, I received a call from my boss’ sister. She is a good friend of mine, and she was in town over the weekend babysitting for my boss and her husband while they went out of town. She asked me to come over and help her watch her nephew. I had a great time catching up with her! I also had fun being in the very presence of a little child. The whole world and each moment is a new experience for him. It was also exhausting to be around an 11-month-old that needs your attention for every little thing – eating, drinking, pooping, bathing, sleeping, playing and affection.
I love how God uses a child to illustrate one attribute you and I need to enter God’s kingdom. Matthew 18:1-5 says it like this:
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'”
You can cross reference this passage in Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:14-16 and Luke 18:15 -17. Luke actually calls these little children babies or infants. They were brought to Jesus so that He might touch them, bless them and pray over them. This must be an important passage of the Bible and a memorable moment for the disciples if it is mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke. I am sure Jesus’ disciples remembered it because Jesus became indignant when they tried to hinder the children from coming to Him. Jesus loves little children (as the famous song says), and He truly desires for them to be in His presence.
Why the emphasis on little ones? Infants do not have a puffed up view of themselves. This passage speaks of the humility we must possess, like that of an infant or babe. In them, humility is instinctive. Jesus used the smallness of a child to illustrate greatness in His kingdom! We must know we are helpless, needy and completely dependent on Jesus for our well being when we come to Him. Infants trust their parents completely to lead them each day, and we should do the same with Jesus. Little children are innocent and pure in God’s eyes. They are honest and sincere. They have no preconceived notions, no baggage to carry, nothing in which to be ashamed. They are not afraid or too proud or too “good” to come to Jesus. They are naturally drawn to Him and His loving nature and intuitively know that they can trust Him. He provides a sense of safety and security. Jesus’ entire life was an example of humility for all mankind, from His birth in a lowly stable instead of a throne room to His undeserved death on a criminal’s cross. We are called to have this same humility in our own lives.
We must come to Jesus freely, openly and in humility. Are you willing to run into His arms and embrace His love? Friendship with God requires that we first receive Jesus into our hearts and acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior. He is Christ, Son of the Living God. We then become citizens of God’s kingdom. It is important to remember that Jesus is supreme over His creation and existed long before this planet ever did. He provides harmony and order over His creation instead of chaos and confusion. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. He established every earthly kingdom and ruler. His kingdom cannot be observed. Each one of us is in His kingdom when we surrender our lives to Him. We are called to seek His kingdom first above anything else in this life.
To be God’s friend we must spend time with Him. John 15:14 says, “Abide in Me, and I in You. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Abide indicates a permanent position; to sink our roots deeply into Him as we grow spiritually. According to Greg Laurie in the current book I am reading called “Every Day with Jesus,” there are four ways to abide in Christ: 1) Spend time daily in God’s Word and make it a habit; 2) pray to God with boldness, confidence with His will in mind knowing that He hears us; 3) continually confess our sins and let God’s Word cleanse us; and 4) take time to be with other believers in Christ in order to stir up love and good works. Laurie says learning to abide in Him is a slow process that takes time and a huge commitment on our part – a lifelong one. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow Him. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. If we spend time with Him, we’ll get to know His voice and follow Him knowing He will never leave nor forsake a single one of us. And if we go astray, He will find us and bring us back to Him.
To be God’s friend we must follow after Him with all of our hearts, souls and minds – every fiber of our very beings. We must live our lives dependent on Him as the babes mentioned in the above passage. We must truly acknowledge and experience His love for us. It helps us when understand that there is no length God will not go for us. He sacrificed everything on our behalf, including His one and only Son – Jesus, so that we can spend this lifetime and all eternity with Him. He held no restraints in His love for us, and we must not restrain ourselves in any way with Him. He wants to work out His love both in our lives and through our lives as we approach others. Jesus is patient and willing to wait and wait and wait and wait for us to come to Him.
Don’t leave Jesus waiting! If you have not accepted Him into your heart, humble yourself like a little child and receive Him now. If you are a believer, what are you waiting for? Learn to abide in Him. Sink your roots deeply into the Word of God and quench your thirst with Living Water. We all have an opportunity to make time for Jesus every day. True friendship can only occur when we have a genuine relationship with Him. Clear away the distractions, stop making excuses, and just sit at His feet.
What a privilege and great honor it is to go before His throne of mercy and grace! We are to go in total submission through prayer. When Jesus died on the cross, we were given direct access to Him, our High Priest in heaven. The veil/curtain/divide between us and Christ has been removed! Jesus mediates, advocates and intercedes on our behalf. We can have communion with God through His Son. At any moment, we can stand in the receiving room before Him where angels bow, and cherubim and seraphim proclaim His glory on holy ground! In reverence, humility, submission and with confidence we can pour our hearts out to God.
Will you not seize this amazing opportunity afforded you today?