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.Matthew 18:1-4
They ask Jesus about being the greatest in the Kingdom of God. But Jesus answers that just to enter the Kingdom we must become like children. And in order for adults to become like children we must change. The key to becoming like a child is to humble yourself.
It’s as if the doorway into the Kingdom of God is designed only for children. And if a regular-sized adult wants to get through the door, they are going to have to duck their head, drop to their knees, and bow low. Humility is the key–humbling oneself to engage in child-like faith, child-like trust, and child-like joy.
Love, forgiveness, faith and joy seem to flow easily for children. They are not hampered by skepticism, cynicism, bitterness or prideful self-consciousness. For adults to enter the Kingdom, we must return to this child-like heart posture toward God and toward others.
Later, Jesus reiterates this point when He tells His disciples:
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.Matthew 23:11-12
Both Peter and James must have heard this message so much from Jesus that they repeated it in their own writings.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.James 4:10
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.” [Proverbs 3:34]
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.1 Peter 5:5-6
The message is clear. Humble yourself. Don’t wait for circumstances, other people, or God Himself to humble you. Humble yourself. Become child-like. Let go of pride. Fast. Pray. Serve. Humble yourself.
It’s as if spiritual attacks are launched at us from a certain angle. And we’ll get hit right between the eyes unless we duck our heads, bend our knees, and bow low. Yet, when we bow low, humbling ourselves, we will find that we are tucked neatly behind the shield of faith and protected from the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
How is God calling you to humble yourself?