To see with the eyes of a child is to see with kingdom eyes.
The world does not esteem children; value childish reasoning, or stoop down to learn from what Jesus saw in a child. Surely, children are the ones to be taught. What can the world learn from the weak, the immature, the needy? And yet, as reasonable as that view of children seems to be, they are also trusting, carefree, unprejudiced, forgiving, sensitive, hopeful.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18:3. If we are to take these words seriously, how do we actually become like children?
When Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs, he said to them, “Don’t take any money, and no bag filled with extras.” Jesus was teaching them to live simply—like children. Children don’t worry about the future because they trust their parents to provide for them (Matthew 7:9-11). Jesus was teaching the disciples to trust their heavenly Father with complete abandon, with a liberating childlike trust.
The minds of young children are generally preoccupied with the present. They don’t think back to the past, nor do they think way into the future. What happened yesterday soon gets forgotten, and with it, all the baggage: the failures that lead to regret; unforgiveness that leads to bitterness; achievements that lead to pride. Similarly, children don’t worry about what will happen in the future—whether there’s enough food for the family till the end of the month or whether they’ll earn enough to support a family one day. In the same way, our hearts should focus on the opportunities of the present; not worry about the unpredictable scenarios of the future. Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Does Jesus mean that we should stop planning and budgeting? Of course not! We need to live wisely. Jesus said, “Do not worry.” This is an issue of the heart—not our intellect.
Across the world, one finds that young children are happy to be who they are and accepting of the conditions in which they grow up. Life is not perfect; families are not perfect, yet children instinctively love their parents and take every day as it comes.
Paul learned the secret of being content, whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12), and the writer of Hebrews tells us to be content with whatever we have (Hebrews 13:5). Our trust in the Lord, and an acceptance of things we cannot change, leads to contentment.
God has made the minds of small children to be like sponges—soaking up everything they hear, without question. Their trusting nature helps them to believe that whatever they are told is true and real. (That is why Jesus gave a stern warning to anyone who would cause one of these little ones to sin - Luke 17:2, because they have abused the unquestioning nature of a child and warped his or her innocence.) As Jesus sends the disciples out, He says to them, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" Matthew 10:16. In other words, don't be gullible and naïve regarding the ways of the world, but remain pure and inncocent as doves. We are to guard our hearts so that we retain the innocence of a child—absorbing truth and rejecting evil (John 16:13-14).
When Jesus said that we should be as little children, He didn’t mean for us to stay immature and helpless. We are to be childlike, not childish (1 Corinthians 13:11). Even as our minds develop and our bodies become strong, our hearts should remain childlike—not molded and slowly hardened by the world. That was the difference between the hearts of the disciples and the hearts of the Pharisees. The disciples’ saw with the eyes of a child and they became trusting, open to the truth and dependent on their heavenly Father. Conversely, the hearts of the Pharisees became hard because they were spiritually blind and their blindness shut out the light of God’s truth (Matthew 6:22-23).
Oh, that people would see with childlike eyes, so that the light that fills them would ceate in them childlike hearts (Luke 11:34).