Why is it that when Jesus spoke, he so often talked in terms that contradict our ways of thinking? Could it be that his purpose was to overturn our philosophical approach to life? I’d certainly say so. After all, he did say, “I am the life…” Such a definitive statement insinuates that all other ways of life somehow fall short.
In a conversation with a man named Nicodemus, Jesus said that unless we are born-again, we cannot see or enter the kingdom of God. Taken alone, it is reasonable to see how Nicodemus would ask, “Can a person return to their mother’s womb and be born-again?” I mean, how ridiculous, right? Yet, we know that Jesus was speaking of spiritual regeneration as a result of genuine faith in him.
Growing Up By Shrinking Down
However, if you teach an innocent little child such things without proper context, their formative minds will believe that they mean what Jesus said and not what he actually meant. This is why proper parenting is so critical.
It is also why perhaps it is a good idea that in some ways, instead of growing up, we as adults living in a messed up world, might consider “shrinking down”. Humanity has so failed the creator that our only hope is to humble ourselves for a life of heavenly-home schooling.
My point is that Jesus said in Matthew chapter eighteen that unless we repent and become as little children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. He was speaking of life-transforming faith in God through humbling ourselves before him and accepting his plan of salvation and his holy word as our rule for life and practice.
When my oldest son, now in his twenties, was growing up, he would say, “Eighteen and up, you can do what you want!” Unfortunately, he had either convinced himself that he was eighteen a few years too early, or he was just kidding himself, because he certainly got into trouble more times than I can count for doing what he wanted instead of what mom, dad, (and yes, teachers) told him to do. By the way, through some hard lessons, he has turned out to be a fine young man that I am quite proud of.
Respecting Authority Again
We know that eighteen is the established age of majority in America, but one would think that it is more like ten or eleven years old these days. Children are practically raising themselves and literally telling their parents what to do. Unfortunately this ever-increasing spirit of insubordination has so infected society that many people have no respect for governmental authority.
Likewise many in authority have lost genuine respect for the rule of law. Everybody wants to do what they want, how they want, whenever they want, and the result is continual and ever-increasing chaos. And it is for such reasons that Jesus came to turn the world upside down, as it were.
Something tells me that if more of us as Christians would strive to outdo each other in humility and service to others, we would see a marked transformation of our culture. While it would likely cause more of the world’s scorn to fall on us as we reflect more of Christ’s light, we can expect that it will also cause more of heaven’s power and blessing to descend upon our land. We cannot expect the unsaved people around us to live this way, but Jesus absolutely expects his real followers to do so… for their sakes.
It still remains true that if we (the children of God) humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and cast all of our cares on him, he will exalt us in due time. And it is not even possible for the people of God to be exalted in this world without it also in some way being a blessing for those around us.
Truly saints, it is time to grow up. Which way is up? The way of the God who came down and humbled himself and died for your sins and mine. He who sends us as the Father sent him says its the only way!