Monday, May 28, 2012



Today we come to a most basic and frequent theme of Jesus' teachings. Jesus had a fascination with children. Jesus held up little children as the prime examples of what a model follower might look like. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that being like a little child is necessary for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.
All four Gospel writers record Jesus' teachings on this special entrance requirement. In Matthew 18:3: And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." In Mark 10:15 Jesus says: "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke repeats Jesus' words from Mark: "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." This is SECRET #49: The follower of Jesus lives his life as a little child.

Then, in the Gospel of John, in a very familiar interaction with Nicodemus, Jesus uses a little different metaphor to say the same thing. He says in John 3:5: "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." He goes on to say: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit." Jesus is referring to being "born again" or "born from above" and means something different than what is normally believed. Being born again is not a salvation experience-a special faith event where a person passes from death to life. Being born again is just what it says. You are born all over again, so that you are like a little child again with all of the purity and simplicity of being this childlike person.

What does that mean to be childlike? A little child naturally trusts, knows very little, and is eager to mimic what he or she sees. In a very real sense, for an adult to become childlike is to be willing to unlearn and start over again with respect to what it means to follow Jesus and not remain dependent upon the religious system from which he or she originally came.

So, in the case of Nicodemus, who was probably the head of a rabbinical school, Jesus was challenging him to rethink his entire spiritual education-to start over and learn the ABC's of what it means to grow up spiritually into a personal relationship with God through His Messiah Jesus. Once a person turns from his ways and begins to act as a little child, then he is being born again.

A few weeks ago I had breakfast with a man who has rejected religion in the form of Christianity. As he says, "I just can't stand being approached by the 'born-againers' who keep trying to save me from going to hell." As we have been meeting together he is becoming fascinated with trying to understand who Jesus really is. He continually tells me he knows nothing and wants to learn this Jesus lifestyle and the basics. As we discussed what it means to be born again, I suddenly realized that my friend was in the process of being born again. He's becoming like a little child with respect to spiritual things.

Becoming as a little child with Jesus means the following: 1. You don't know everything. 2. All that you have been taught needs to be stripped away. 3. You want to learn all you can about this new life with Jesus. 4. In order to learn more about the ABC's of walking with Jesus, it's most helpful to watch Him carefully and mimic what you hear and see. 5. Learn to simply trust Jesus for your life-your strength, direction and future.

Adults think they know everything and have the ugly habit of trusting themselves. Children know they don't know everything and therefore gladly develop the beautiful habit of simply trusting. Do you want to enter the Kingdom of heaven? Become like a little child! SECRET #49: The follower of Jesus lives his life as a little child.