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Childlikeness in the Kingdom

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One of the great joys in life is seeing the fruit of the work you have invested in. Whether it’s finally purchasing something you had saved up for, completing a successful repair on your house, finishing a captivating book, painting a watercolor, earning a promotion at work, etc., God has created us to find value in the work of our hands and accomplishments. He has placed it in our DNA to produce fruit in our lives and find enjoyment in it. 

However, we also have been affected by the sinful nature that wants to try to earn things out of self-dependency. We were created to be surrendered to our Father and His will, yet the old nature prefers to go our own way out of pride and rebellion. This is the beauty of salvation—Jesus came to set us free from trying to earn what can only be received through humility.

Personally, I used to be so driven and had a hard time accepting things I didn’t earn. I remember in Bible college speaking privately with a professor who had given our entire class mercy by rounding up our grades on an assignment. I was struggling because I didn’t earn the grade, which was rooted in pride. Obviously, I had also been struggling to receive God’s love because I wanted to work for it and earn it, instead of humbly receiving what I could never earn!

Am I the only one who has had to learn to freely receive? It’s one reason Jesus said that salvation must be received in a childlike way:

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NLT, emphasis mine)

Jesus had just instructed the disciples in Mark 9:36-37, 42 to welcome children in His name. Yet, the disciples didn’t heed the message and saw children as an interruption to His ministry. Jesus responds, as He often did, by flipping their logic upside down. Not only are children a blessing, but they are also a sign to us of what receiving salvation looks like!

What is it about children that God so values—enough to use them as an example? Children are fearless, full of faith, and unashamed of who they are. (Ever watch a child running around or dancing, totally oblivious to what others are thinking?) Plus, children receive freely and have no issue with the fact that they didn’t earn any gift being given to them. There are very few things as precious as the gleam in a child’s eyes when they are about to open a present!

Our entire walk with God centers around the principle of joyfully receiving out of humility what we could never earn in pride. Even our obedience is an outflowing of His Spirit, empowering us to say yes. May you rest in assurance today that our Father has freely given you all that you need in Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 2 Peter 1:3)


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About The Author


Rich Miller is the Manager of Digital Interactions in the Prayer Center and has been with CBN since 2011. He and his wife live near Columbus, OH and enjoy the outdoors, watching crime dramas and playing video games. An avid history buff, Rich loves studying church history and the parallels we can draw to modern day Christianity.

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