What does it mean to have a “childlike” faith? Webster’s dictionary describes “childlike” as “becoming a child; meek; submissive; dutiful.”
Let’s visit (Matthew 18:3), and see what the Bible says. The disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”Jesus 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. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:1-5)
This verse tells us that God wants us to come before Him like a child, because children are innocent and trust with a pure, uncorrupted heart.
Jesus used the example of a child to help his disciple get the point. We are not to be “childish”, but rather “childlike”, with humble and sincere hearts. At the time, the disciples had become so preoccupied with their organization of Jesus’ earthly kingdom that they had lost sight of his divine purpose. Instead of seeking a place of service, they sought positions of advantage in the kingdom of heaven.
It is easy to lose our internal purpose or perspective and compete for promotions or status in the work place, in our community, and even compete with friends and family. But God seeks a “childlike” submission, a meek spirit, and a pure heart … a childlike faith.
It’s difficult to identify ourselves as “children” — as weak and dependent people with no status or influence. But that is not what is meant by having a childlike faith. Instead we need to be daily renewed in the spirit of our minds, that we may become simple and humble, and embrace our identity as children of God. Faith is simply a humble quality, which resembles child-likeness.
As we study this subject, and examine our own spirits, we must be willing to be the least of all, and we should ask ourselves, “am I being childlike or childish?”
The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6).