Becoming Childlike

Becoming childlike seems like an undesirable trait in warfare. However, in spiritual warfare, it can be the difference between a sweatless victory and a prolonged and challenging battle. Jesus said if we don’t become like a little child, we will not enter the kingdom of God. That is a sobering statement that we should examine closely. Spiritual warfare can only be waged effectively by operating with kingdom authority and from a kingdom perspective. A childlike perspective is the most excellent kingdom perspective.

Matthew 18: 1-4 (NKJV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

There is something essential about a childlike perspective that pleases the Father and empowers a person to enter the kingdom, but what is this youthful perspective that Jesus has in mind?

We throw terms around like “childlike faith,” but Jesus never mentions faith. He is answering a question about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of God. I am not saying that faith has nothing to do with it, but Jesus did not put emphasis on faith. He emphasized a perspective that significantly affects our ability to trust in Him.

Is it possible that becoming like a little child means that we maintain the sense of wonder and innocence of a child that living in this sinful world tends to squeeze out of us?

Could it be that Jesus is talking about living without being self-conscious, without guile, being open about our feelings and emotions, having an undefiled conscience, and living life with excitement and boundless energy? Could He be referring to childlike inquisitiveness, vivid imagination, and creativity? Or a heart that is humble, joyful, hopeful, tender, loving, gentle, quick to forgive, and willing to believe the best of every person?

These qualities tend to define a child but get quickly stripped from us as we mature and become more “self-aware,” encountering the sin and brokenness of our fallen world.

As we grow into adulthood, we tend to become jaded and prideful. We hold grudges and stay angry, refusing to forgive. We quickly lose hope because our hopes are often dashed and destroyed. We allow negative emotions to rule us and let unimportant things matter more than what matters most. We lose our joy and live with a seared conscience.

Adults have trouble with new ideas. We tend to reject things we do not understand, hindering us from trusting in the seemingly impossible. Children do not behave this way. Neither did Jesus. Neither should we. I think we must be more intentional about being childlike.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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