Humble yourself: you must come like a child to Christ

Larry Paden, a Hardin Valley resident and an Elder at Oak Ridge Church of Christ, has submitted the first of his Christian-based columns to be periodically published in farragutpress

In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19 and verses 13 and 14, the scriptures give us a picture of Jesus interacting with children.

The verses say, “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciple rebuked them.

But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”

We all can learn a valuable lesson from little children.

In Chapter 18 of Matthew, verses 1-4, we have another instance where Jesus tells us that we need to be like children. On this occasion, the disciples of Jesus came to Him saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Jesus called a child to Him and responded, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as the child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus is saying that the way up in His kingdom is to be like children. Jesus is not saying we need to be like children in age. No, he is saying that we are to be like them in disposition and character. Children view the world through the prism of humility, free from ambitious designs.

This attitude was evident in the third-graders in a class at Northshore Elementary School, where it was reported that they “raided their piggy banks and got money from mom and dad, adding to an empty purple Cheetos container labeled ‘Hope for Harvey.’”

They were not thinking of themselves, but children in another state who had lost so much.

Humility in the scriptures is defined as meekness, lowliness and absence of self. The word “humility” in Colossians 3:12 and elsewhere literally means “lowliness of mind.”

Humility is not just an outward demeanor, but more importantly it is a heart attitude which leads us to considering others before self. This attitude puts away selfish ambition and conceit.

True humility produces a character that is willing to serve all who have needs with little thought for self. We see this attitude in these third-grade children who simply wanted to help where help was needed.

May this attitude touch all of our hearts. The kingdom of God is open to those who are willing to come to His Son with an obedient and humble heart.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to “such as these.”