1. BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN BY ACCEPTING AUTHORITY.
Little children accept the authority of those over them, namely their parents. Jesus Himself showed this characteristic in His early life. Luke 2:51 - "Then He went down with them [i.e., his parents] and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them..." He accepted their authority as a young child, and, in His adult years, He continued to be subject to His heavenly Father. We see this clearly throughout His life, but especially before His death. Jesus said in John 17:4 - "I have glorified You on the earth, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prayed - "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Jesus accepted the authority of His Father, and little children generally do the same. Do you?
2. BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN BY BEING JOYFUL.
Little children are often known for laughing frequently. Why is that? Because they are full of joy! In a study conducted several years ago, an average adult laughed 15 times per day. Guess how many times little children laugh on average daily? 400 times! Children laugh, on average, over 25 times as much as adults do! That's no accident! Little children know how to enjoy themselves and their time much better than most adults do.
Well, so what Stephen? Are you trying to tell me I should laugh and smile more? Yes, I am as a matter of fact. The Bible teaches that we should "rejoice always" (I Thess. 5:16). Additionally, we know that "a merry heart does good, like medicine" (Prov. 17:22). Would those who spend the most time with you label you as one who rejoiced always and had a merry heart? If not, why not? God expects and even commands us to be joyful!
Realize that I'm not encouraging superficial laughter or just plain silliness, but I do believe that many Christians could benefit from being more joyful, like little children. Learn to find joy in every moment. This takes discipline and focus. It takes concentration to find the positive in a sea of negativity. Jesus, despite His difficult years as a teacher, preacher, and miracle worker, was a joyful person. Children are known for their joy. Are you?
3. BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN BY OBEYING.
This point is closely connected to the first one. Those who do not challenge authority are those who will comply with the instructions they are given. Jesus was obedient to the Father in all things - "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34). Jesus didn't come to this earth to question what the Father told Him to do. He came to obey His Father, and that is exactly what He did (Heb. 5:8,9)! We therefore, as followers, will also obey the Lord's words, because we too want to do the will of the Father. Those who love God are those who are willing to obey Him. "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Do you love God? Are you obedient to Him? Jesus also said - "You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14). Are you a friend of Jesus? Do you obey Him? Jesus was obedient and little children are obedient. Are you?
We will continue this study tomorrow.