Childlike Dependence

jesus

Humility Is Dependence

Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:4 RSV).

Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In his public teaching ministry, Jesus commended humility as the pre-eminent characteristic of the citizens of God’s kingdom, and went on to describe it as the humility of a child …

Many people are puzzled by this teaching, since children are seldom humble in either character or conduct. Jesus must therefore have been alluding to their humility of status, not behavior. Children are rightly called ‘dependants’. They depend on their parents for everything. For what they know they depend on what they have been taught, and for what they have they depend on what they have been given. These two areas are, in fact, the very ones Jesus specifies when he develops the model of a child’s humility.

John Stott, “Pride, Humility and God” in Alive to God, ed. J. I. Packer and L. Wilkinson (Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), 118.

HT: Langham Partnership International

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