Is it based on how good they are? Is it based on how fast they are? Is it based on how dependable they are? Is it based on their character? Is it based on their attitude? Is it based on their potential? Is it based on their past accomplishments? Is it based on their pride? Is it based on their humility? Is it based on how grown up they seem? Is it based on how child like they are? How do you measure?
These questions were triggered when I started my morning reading today on the question “Who Is the Greatest?”
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” 2So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of them, 3and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. 4The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. 5And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.
— from Matthew 18 (GNT)
So how does that compare to our normal way of measuring and determining who is the greatest? How does this make you reflect on the measuring stick? For whatever measure you use to measure others is how you will be measured!
So what part of us needs to be converted to get in alignment with such a calling? Do we need a different mind set? Do we need another frame of reference? Do we need a new temperament? Do we need to change our thought patterns in how we see ourselves as well as how we see others? What is your goal and your purpose, are you being pulled by pride, ambition, and the desire or need to be honored and have dominion over something? We need to let that go! We need to turn back to God and give this all up into His hands and work to become more like a child. We need to move from the natural to the supernatural where grace abounds. We need to turn our back on that stuff and continue to walk away from sin and into repentance (it’s hard and just like we need to keep clean daily, we need to keep on track and keep turning back to God when we go off track).
Some may wonder what becoming like a little child could mean…it’s about the grace that converts us, …
- Do not be like children in your thinking, my friends; be children so far as evil is concerned, but be grown up in your thinking. (1 Corinthians 14:20 – not foolish)
- Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. (Ephesians 4:14 – not fickle)
- “Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace. One group shouts to the other, 17‘We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn’t dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn’t cry!’ (Matthew 11:16 – not playful)
- Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved. (1 Peter 2:2 – desire the sincere word of God)
- “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ (Matthew 6:31 – no worries, trust in our Heavenly Father)
- Do not be like children in your thinking, my friends; be children so far as evil is concerned, but be grown up in your thinking. (1 Corinthians 14:20 – not able or likely to cause harm, rather friendly, happy, liking, loving, respectful, sympathetic, moral, thoughtful)
- While he is young, there are men who take care of him and manage his affairs until the time set by his father. (Galatians 4:2 – taken care of and under authority)
- Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise. (Romans 12:16 – accept humble duties, make friends with humble people)
- Lord, I have given up my pride and turned away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me. (Psalm 131:1-2)
So let’s check our hearts and minds and see what we need to hand over to God and change in ourselves.
The devil is going to try and tempt us away from the truth. He is going to try and build up things in our lives that we shouldn’t care about or have rather than allowing us to stand firm on the rock that is Jesus Christ. He wants to keep us off balance. He wants to keep us off guard. He doesn’t want true success for us, but rather temporary and artificial pleasures. So stand your guard today! Stand firm! Put on the full armor of God! And allow God to guide your steps.
6“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. 7How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them! 8“If your hand or your foot makes you lose your faith, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life without a hand or a foot than to keep both hands and both feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye makes you lose your faith, take it out and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life with only one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
— from Matthew 18 (GNT)
God is looking for you. When you stray and get off track, He is looking for you because you are that important. From the beginning when Adam went astray what do we hear and read:
But the Lord God called out to the man, “Where are you?”
— from Genesis 3:9 (GNT)
And in the new testament we read about the lost sheep in today’s reading…
10“See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven. 12“What do you think a man does who has one hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go and look for the lost sheep. 13When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14In just the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.
— from Matthew 18 (GNT)
So don’t lose hope when you miss the mark. Turn back to God! Don’t try to run and hide from Him, but rather turn to Him and confess what you have done. Not sure what to do turn to God ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to you generously and graciously. The devil will try to separate you from God and will do everything he can to get you to walk away. Don’t do it! Admit your mistake and turn back to God! Jesus paid it all so that we can be forgiven! We just need to ask!
Today’s Psalm says:
A Song of Praise
1I waited patiently for the Lord’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry.
2He pulled me out of a dangerous pit, out of the deadly quicksand. He set me safely on a rock and made me secure.
3He taught me to sing a new song, a song of praise to our God. Many who see this will take warning and will put their trust in the Lord.
4Happy are those who trust the Lord, who do not turn to idols or join those who worship false gods.
5You have done many things for us, O Lord our God; there is no one like you! You have made many wonderful plans for us. I could never speak of them all—their number is so great!
6You do not want sacrifices and offerings; you do not ask for animals burned whole on the altar or for sacrifices to take away sins. Instead, you have given me ears to hear you,
7and so I answered, “Here I am; your instructions for me are in the book of the Law.
8How I love to do your will, my God! I keep your teaching in my heart.”
9In the assembly of all your people, Lord, I told the good news that you save us. You know that I will never stop telling it.
10I have not kept the news of salvation to myself; I have always spoken of your faithfulness and help. In the assembly of all your people I have not been silent about your loyalty and constant love.
11Lord, I know you will never stop being merciful to me. Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe.
A Prayer for Help
12I am surrounded by many troubles—too many to count! My sins have caught up with me, and I can no longer see; they are more than the hairs of my head, and I have lost my courage.
13Save me, Lord! Help me now!
14May those who try to kill me be completely defeated and confused. May those who are happy because of my troubles be turned back and disgraced.
15May those who make fun of me be dismayed by their defeat.
16May all who come to you be glad and joyful. May all who are thankful for your salvation always say, “How great is the Lord!”
17I am weak and poor, O Lord, but you have not forgotten me. You are my savior and my God—hurry to my aid!
— from Psalm 40 (GNT)