Psalm 131:1-2 - O LORD, my heart is not lifted up: my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Jesus' disciples asked Him, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:1b). Apparently, it was an issue of great interest to them and more than once was the subject of their quarrels. Perhaps the disciples hoped that Jesus would mention one of their names as "the greatest." He did not.
Jesus gave His disciples a lesson in greatness, but our Lord does not measure greatness as the world does. He did not point to a military leader to illustrate greatness. He did not discuss the Roman emperor or well-known Pharisees as examples of greatness. Jesus did not even point to Himself, but to a child: "Calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'" (Matthew 18:2-3). If Jesus' followers do not become like children, they will not even enter the kingdom. Those who humble themselves like that child would be greatest in the kingdom. It is a difficult lesson. In our fallen selfishness, we do not really want to humble ourselves to become like children. We may instead try to elevate ourselves over others as we seek to satisfy our own desires.
Jesus, the greatest of all, the Son of God, humbled Himself to born among us. He became a child, the infant born in Bethlehem, a little child who knew what it was to feel calm and quiet in His mother's arms. Jesus grew to adulthood, humbly serving, teaching, and healing, reaching out to people with mercy and compassion. In humility He took up His cross and died for our sins, including our sinful, self-seeking attempts to enjoy the highest place at the expense of others.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been born anew. Baptized as infants, as older children, or as adults, we are born again in the water and the Word. Through no effort or achievements of our own, like humble children we are brought into the kingdom of God. Like children, who depend on adults for help and care, we depend on our Savior for salvation. As the psalmist says, our "eyes are not raised too high." With the help of the Holy Spirit, we do not lift our hearts high in sinful pride, but humbly count others as more important than ourselves. We look not only to our own interests, but like our Savior, put the interests of others ahead of our own. In the face of the world's constant and anxious search for greatness, we calm and quiet our souls with trust in Christ alone.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to trust You in childlike faith and to serve others, as You did, with humble compassion. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Have you ever dealt with someone who thought they were better than you?
2. Why do you think Jesus wants us to be like children before God the Father?
3. Do you seek out quiet times and places to gather your thoughts and reflect on life? How do you do this?
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