Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Title: Childlike Humility
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳
Matthew 18:4 “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
When the disciples asked our Lord Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God?”, they wanted to know who out of the twelve of them would hold the highest position in His kingdom. Who would occupy that place of greatest power, honour, fame, wealth and glory?
Jesus gave them the most shocking answer – the greatest in the kingdom of God is the one who humbles himself like a child! The world measures greatness in terms of being rich, famous, powerful, influential and accomplished in the many fields of human endeavour. Jesus however measures greatness in a radically different way.
Jesus used a little child, a nobody, one without power or status, to teach His disciples a lesson about humility. Greatness in God’s kingdom is not based on accomplishments of any sort but on childlike humility of spirit. Children are at the bottom of the pecking order, powerless and helpless, being utterly dependent on others to meet their every need. They are innocent, loving, trusting and believe without complication, being uncorrupted by preconceived notions of the world. They are humble, teachable, quick to forgive, willing to learn and grow.
It is extremely hard to practise humility, even more difficult to be humble like a child. For we are all born with a proud heart that exalts itself, not God or others! Thoughts of superiority reign in our hearts even though we are aware that “there are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:16-17) Heading up the list of seven deadly sins is “haughty eyes.” These eyes belong to the proud and arrogant person whose nose is perpetually in the air! Like Satan, he has a haughty demeanour and sets himself above others, and ultimately above God!
C.S.Lewis states “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
Which is why God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34). The proud are often punished as in Daniel 4:30 where King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon surveyed his empire from the roof of his palace, then congratulated himself for his achievements, asking rhetorically, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” Immediately, he was afflicted with madness and reduced to an animal state for seven years until he had been adequately humbled.
Contrast his pride with that of King Solomon’s humility. In 1 Kings 3:7, Solomon the wisest man who ever lived, prayed to God saying “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.” Yet he was a great king, greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom, from whom many other kings sought advice! He did not trust his own wisdom but took his place as a little child at the feet of the Lord, asking God for wisdom to govern His people.
The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s humility that He responded saying “behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.” (1 Kings 3:12-13)
A childlike (not childish) sense of dependence and our powerlessness before God – this is the humble response that God desires from His children. If we wish to be part of His kingdom, we must humble ourselves before Him, like small children. We are to rely on Him not only for material needs, but for all sustenance in life both now and in the life to come. Hence we cast off all pride, boastfulness and self-dependence. For we realise that without Him, we can do nothing!
We recognise that when tasks are successfully completed and milestones achieved, the applause belongs to God, not us. For He is the one who mobilises all necessary resources required and only by His grace are we, mere mortals, able to satisfactorily complete His assignments. So let us not long for human applause for all glory belongs to God! Let us seek to practise CHILDLIKE HUMILITY for the fruitful Christian is the one who is most humble.
Our Heavenly Father, forgive our self-exalting, praise-hungry attitude, our insatiable desire for recognition and glory. Help us to be Your humble, teachable and trusting followers. Teach us to be patient, kind and most importantly, to be willing to be transformed into the image and likeness of Your Son, Jesus, the perfect example of humility. In His name, we pray. Amen
耶稣给了他们最惊人的答案 – 在上帝的国度里，最大的是那谦卑自己犹如小孩子的人！世界衡量伟大的标准是财富、名气、权力、影响力，以及在人类事业的许多领域取得的成就；而耶稣是以完全不同的方式来衡量伟大。
保持谦卑是极其困难的，要谦卑得像一个小孩是更加的困难。因为我们生来就有一颗自高自大的心，高抬自己，而非上帝或其他人！虽然我们知道 “耶和华所恨恶的有六样，连他心所憎恶的共有七样，就是高傲的眼，撒谎的舌，流无辜人血的手。”（箴言6:16-17）优越感依然充斥我们内心。高居七宗罪之首的是 “高傲的眼”。这些眼睛属于傲慢的人，他们的鼻孔永远朝向天空。好像撒旦一样，他举止高傲，把自己摆在别人之上，最终要超越上帝！
像孩子的样式 (不是幼稚)的依赖感和我们在上帝面前的无能为力 – 这是上帝期望祂的儿女的谦卑的反应。如果我们希望在祂的国度里有份，我们一定要像小孩子一样谦卑自己在祂的跟前。我们不只是在物质需要上仰赖祂，而且要依靠祂来维持我们现在和将来的生活。因此，我们摒弃所有的骄傲、自夸和自立；