Matthew 18:3 ,4 - The Faith of a Child.

Mat. 18:3 ,4: The Faith of a Child.

Mat 18:3, 4 (KJV)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be 
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this 
little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

Mat 18:3, 4 (EAV)  And said, Truly I say to you, unless you 
repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, 
lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven 
[at all].  Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like 
this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in 
the kingdom of heaven. 

Pride is a basic part of human nature. People seek to do things 
which exalt themselves over others. [Disciple SB] 

Pride threw the angels that sinned out of heaven, and will keep 
us out, if we be not converted from it. (Matthew Henry's 

In life it is all a question of what a man is aiming at; if he 
is aiming at the fulfilment of personal ambition, the acquisition 
of personal power, the enjoyment of personal prestige, the 
exaltation of self, he is aiming at precisely the opposite of the Kingdom 
of Heaven; for to be a citizen of the Kingdom means the complete 
forgetting of self, the obliteration of self, the spending of self in a 
life which aims at service and not at power. [Barclay Commentary] 

Jesus used a child to help his self-centered disciples get the 
point.  We are not to be childish (like the disciples, arguing over 
petty issues), but rather childlike, with humble and sincere hearts. 
[Life Application SB] 

The absence of pride in position is the aspect of childhood 
referred to here. To enter Christ's kingdom, a man must realize his 
personal inadequacy, and his complete dependence on the Lord. He must 
experience a new birth (Jn 3:3 ff). [Wycliffe Bible Commentary] 

Jesus took a little child, who had no rights according to the 
Law, and stood him in their midst. He told the disciples a change in 
their thinking was necessary. Greatness in the kingdom was not based 
on great works or words, but on childlike humility of spirit. 
Jesus' reply indicated they were asking the wrong question. They should 
have been concerned about serving the Lord, not asking about 
positions in the kingdom. Their service needed to be directed toward 
people,... A truly humble person does not concern himself with position or 
power, but is concerned about active service, especially toward those 
who are most in need. [Bible Knowledge Commentary] 

To be great in the kingdom of God one must humble oneself as a 
servant of others and of God. [Disciple SB] 

These will not be talking of self, vindicating self, but will 
lose their identity in Jesus Christ. To be great in God's kingdom is 
to be a little child in humility, in simplicity of faith, and in 
the purity of love. All pride must perish, all jealousy be overcome, 
all ambition for supremacy be given up, and the meekness and trust 
of the child be encouraged. 5T130 

The people of Israel did not respond when Jesus called them to 
Him. They stood off at a distance, reserving judgment. When Jesus 
called the child to Him, the child responded immediately. Without 
pride, humble and trusting, the child accepted Jesus' invitation at 
once. Greatness comes only when we humble ourselves to trustingly 
respond to our King's every call. [Victor Teacher's Commentary] 

Christ taught and performed miracles for three years in the 
little Jewish homeland--and the adults of His time either overtly 
rejected His claims, or held back, uncertain. Now He calls a little child 
and "had him stand among" the disciples. The child responded to 
Jesus' call when adults had not. To be followers of Jesus, much less 
great in God's kingdom, we must be like a little child in our response 
to Christ's word. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion] 

Christ has presented Himself to Israel as her Messiah. But the 
crowds hold back, taking it upon themselves to stand in judgment on the 
Son of God. What a contrast with the child, who simply heard and 
responded. Both a childlike sense of dependence and a willingness to 
respond are to mark our relationship with God... We acknowledge our 
dependence and our powerlessness before Him, and humbly submit to His 
words. [Victor Bible Background Commentary] 

"You must be converted, you must be of another mind, and in 
another frame and temper, must have other thoughts,... The pride, 
ambition, and affectation of honour and dominion, which appear in you, 
must be repented of, mortified, and reformed, (Matthew Henry's 

Be converted. Gr. strepho, "to turn," or "to turn around"; 
hence, in reference to one's course of conduct, "to change one's mind." 
In Biblical usage strepho is equivalent to the Heb. shub, commonly 
used throughout the OT of "turning" to the Lord [SDA Commentary] 

Continuous conversion
These words of Our Lord are true of our initial conversion, but 
we have to be continuously converted all the days of our lives, 
continually to turn to God as children. If we trust to our wits instead of 
to God, we produce consequences for which God will hold us 
responsible. Immediately our bodies are brought into new conditions by the 
providence of God, we have to see our natural life obeys the dictates of 
the Spirit of God. Because we have done it once is no proof that we 
shall do it again. The relation of the natural to the spiritual is one 
of continuous conversion, and it is the one thing we object to. In 
every setting in which we are put, the Spirit of God remains unchanged 
and His salvation unaltered but we have to "put on the new man." God 
holds us responsible every time we refuse to convert ourselves, our 
reason for refusing is willful obstinacy. Our natural life must not 
rule, God must rule in us. 
The hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will not be 
continually converted, there are 'wadges' of obstinacy where our pride spits 
at the throne of God and says--'I won't.' We deify independence and 
willfulness and call them by the wrong name. What God looks on as obstinate 
weakness, we call strength. There are whole tracts of our lives which have 
not yet been brought into subjection, and it can only be done by 
this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole 
territory for the Spirit of God. [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald 

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts 
only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet 
of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home 
and give all to "dad". That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. 
Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert 
tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood 
derby car with his young, eager son. The block of wood remained 
untouched as the weeks passed. 
Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out. 
The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be 
best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And 
he did. I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could 
do and what we couldn't do. Within days, his block of wood was 
turning into a pinewood derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great 
(at least through the eyes of mom). Gilbert had not seen any of the 
other kids' cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning", 
the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own. 
Then the big night came. With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and 
pride in his heart, we headed to the big race. Once there, my little 
one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's car was obviously the only 
car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son 
partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed. A few 
of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's lopsided, wobbly, 
unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility, Gilbert was the only boy 
without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single 
parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side, 
Gilbert had "mom". 
As the race began, it was done in elimination fashion. You kept 
racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down 
the ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest 
looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide-eyed, 
shy eight-year-old asked if they could stop the race for a minute, 
because he wanted to pray. The race stopped. Gilbert hit his knees 
clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a 
wrinkled brow, he set to converse with his father. He prayed in earnest 
for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile on his face 
and announced, "Okay, I am ready." As the crowd cheered, a boy named 
Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert 
stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood 
wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the 
finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's car. 
Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank you" as the crowd 
roared in approval. The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone 
in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh, 
Gilbert?" To which my young son answered, "Oh, no, sir. That wouldn't be 
fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to 
make it so I don't cry when I lose." Children seem to have a wisdom 
far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to win the race, he didn't ask 
God to fix the outcome, Gilbert asked God to give him strength in 
the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars, he didn't cry 
out to God, "No fair, they had a father's help" No, he went to his 
Father for strength. Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time 
asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time 
asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking 
God's strength to get through the struggle. 
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." 
(Philippians 4:13). Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present 
that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his 
request. He didn't pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that 
God supply the grace to lose with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping 
the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn't 
there without a "dad", but His Father was most definitely there with 
him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at 
his side. [source unknown] 

If Our Prayers Do Not Change Us, Then We Do Not Pray Aright.