As parents we know that we must teach our children. We must teach them how to tie their shoes and brush their teeth. We must teach them their ABC’s and their 1, 2, 3’s. We must teach them to respect others and make wise choices. And we must teach them first and foremost the gospel and their need for salvation. But along the way, we often forget that God gives us children not just so that we could teach them, but so that they could teach us. Children teach us so many things, don’t they? They teach us how to love others regardless of skin color, personality, and abilities. They teach us to be real and sincere in our emotions-not being afraid to laugh or to cry when we need to. They teach us that status and significance means nothing compared to kindness and tenderness. And they teach us to enjoy life and not worry so much about tomorrow because right now is the moment that really matters.
Our children teach us so many things. But perhaps the most important thing our children teach us is how to receive. They teach us how to receive the kingdom of God. Jesus tells us that the way of entering into his kingdom is by receiving. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17). Notice, we do not enter the kingdom of God by analyzing some deep problem and arriving at its solution. And we do not enter the kingdom of God by working hard to be good enough for God’s approval. We enter it by receiving. If entrance into God’s kingdom depended on studying and analyzing and working to be righteous on our own, than children could never enter it. And neither could we. But thankfully entering the kingdom of God depends upon receiving something, and therefore children can enter.
How does a child receive the kingdom of God? He receives it in simple, humble faith. That’s why Jesus holds up children as an example to us. Children are able to believe and receive Christ without a mind stuffed with self-righteousness and intellectual, emotional baggage. Yes they are sinners, but often their hearts have yet to be corrupted with preconceived ideas of God and what he should be like. They don’t have a little box for God to fit in. They want him bigger than our self-made boxes. Charles Spurgeon says that children are “blessed in their ignorance” and that all of us must be delivered from our preconceived notions and “humbly drink in the Word of God” and receive it like little children.
So have you? Have you come to God not trying to give him something but simply to receive something from Him? Have you come ready to admit that you have sinned against Him and ready to receive Christ as the One who paid the penalty for your sins? Perhaps you have already received Him, but nevertheless, I invite you to pause today and think about what real faith is.
Spurgeon says, “If you want to know what faith in Jesus is, look to the young children who have taken Jesus at His Word, believed in Him, loved Him, and therefore know and are sure they are saved.” Amen! May we learn together the value of teaching our children and letting them teach us.
I wrote this post last year but the truth continues to amaze me especially this time of the year.