Sunday, July 31, 2016

Become as a Little Child

September 2015

Christ repeatedly states throughout the scriptures that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven we must become as a little child.

"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called alittle child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become aslittle children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
(Mathew 18:1-4)

When Christ first appeared to the Nephites in America after being resurrected He established the doctrine of Christ which includes the requirement of becoming as a little child

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."
(3rd Nephi 11:37-38)

Later Christ would minister to the children and teach them things He could not teach to the adults. (3rd Nephi 26:14)

So why do we need to become as a child in order to receive the things necessary for exaltation and redemption? What does it even mean to become as a little child? Why can we not inherit the kingdom of God being like a full grown adult. King Benjamin explains the whys and meaning of becoming as a child in his sermon.

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. "
(Mosiah 3:19)

After King Benjamin commands us to become as a child, he list the characteristics and attributes of the kind of child we need to become like: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, and willing to submit to all things the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon. Here is why we need to possess each one these child-like traits in order to receive the teachings of Christ, and inherit the kingdom of heaven:

I want you for a moment to think about the vast separation of the wisdom and intelligence between a father to his 4 year-old toddler.  Now think of the vast separation of intelligence and wisdom between you and God. I don't care if you are an 18 year-old high school graduate or an 80 year-old general authority. The intelligence and knowledge of mankind is minuscule compared to that of God. We are all little children to Him. Thank God we have Christ who is willing to bridge that separation through the atonement to pull us up from our naive and ignorant state to his level of ascension, if we come unto Him and obey His commandments.

Submissive: A child is submissive or obedient. This is an acceptance of the Fathers will in preference to our own. This does not mean submitting to another man's will or being a little push-over; it means submitting to the will of God. Christ submitted to the will of the Father in all things. (3rd Nephi 11:11) So likewise for us if we desire to enter into the kingdom of God-not our will be done, but thine (Luke 22:42, Mathew 7:21) When we obtain any blessing from God, (in this case we desire the blessing of the knowledge necessary for eternal life)  it is by obedience (submission) to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21, 18-19)

Meek: To be meek is a conscience effort to avoid harming or hurting others. It is a willingness to suffer without complaint. Most of the time the meek go completely unnoticed by man because they do not vaunt or demand recognition. I see the meek as the honest down-to-earth good righteous people that don't complain about life's difficulties, but make the best of their situation and glorify the Father in the process.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Mathew 5:5)

Humble: Children are inquisitive. They pester parents with the why's, how's, and when's of life. They are humble because not only do they not know anything, they know they don't know anything and are willing to admit it.  They want to be given the chance to learn, to seek, to ask, to knock. As we age we become arrogant in our own knowledge and are naturally inclined to think ourselves wise.  Did you ever hear the phrase, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"? Well, you can't teach an old devote catholic, a well educated atheist, a scholarly priest, a Pharisees and scribe, or even a general authority new, simple, doctrinal truths unless they put aside their pride and are willing to be like the inquisitive child. Especially members of the LDS church are in danger of being damned by pride and losing what they already have if they believe they don't need to learn anymore because they think they already have enough.

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. " (2nd Nephi 28:30)

Christ can not teach us unless we are willing to put aside our unbelief: false traditions, precepts, and philosophies of men. (2nd Nephi 28, Mosiah 1:5, Alma 32:12, Ether 12:27, Moroni 7:36-37, Ether 4:13-15)  You CAN NOT receive these things that Christ mentioned unless you are humble like a child.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6, 2nd Nephi 4:34)

Patient: Children don't mature into adulthood over night. It takes decades of development and experience until a child finally becomes a mature responsible adult. The same applies to our salvation.  It takes diligence, faithfulness, and patience with the word in nourishing it that it may take root in you until by and by you shall pluck the fruit which is most precious, sweet, white, and pure above all others, (Alma 32:42)   We can not expect to enter into the presence of God the Father and be redeemed from the fall over night after we had just enter in by the way through baptism. It may take years, even decades, of faithful and patient spiritual development until we learn all we me must learn, fulfill all the laws necessary, and manifest the signs and tokens in ourselves to angels and God before we can receive the 2nd Comforter and converse with the Lord through the veil to have Him take us into the presence of the Father. When we get to that point we shall know God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He has sent-whom to know is eternal life. (Lectures on Faith 7:20) (Ether 3:13, 2nd Nephi 32, John 14:21-23, D&C130:3)

Full of Love: This is charity. Children love freely because of their innocent and naive status. They haven't had life experience or bad relationships to ruin their trusting nature to love others freely. As adults we find it difficult to love others freely because of our experience with all  the wickedness, evil, lying, and deceit in the world.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Mathew 5:44)

Children find it easier to love than fear.  God does not hate but loves all unconditionally, likewise we must love all with the pure love of Christ, and not fear. If we don't then we are nothing, but a tinkling cymbal. (1st Corinthians 13:1, Moroni 7:44-47)

Willing to Submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon: We know through the endowment session that every knee shall bend. It is going to happen no matter what, but we need to be willing to bow now.  In the Lectures on Faith 6:7 Joseph Smith states 

" is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the will of God.  When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do His will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain.  Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life"

Willing to submit to all things the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon is a willingness to sacrifice all worldly things.  It is living the first law in the endowment session: The Law of Sacrifice.  The things the Lord may require that I will have to sacrifice to know Him will probably be different than what you are going to be required to sacrifice.  It will be whatever it is that gets in the way of you and your individual relationship with Christ.  It will be whatever your damning idols are.  Sacrifice is a means of proving yourself to God that you treasure Him and His over the materialistic things of this word.  It is a tool to sever your ties from this Telestial hell we live in and to connect us with the more valuable things of the Terrestrial and Celestial world.  Hence the commandment to lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mathew 6:19-23)

From my experience and study of the scriptures I have noticed that God really has no need of whatever worldly thing you have to sacrifice.  All that God really wants is your broken heart and contrite spirit, (3rd Nephi 9:19-20)  but the people who do need your worldly substance are the naked, the hungry, the captive, and the sick and afflicted.(Jacob 2:19)  God will most likely require that you use your blessings and gifts for the benefit of God's children. (D&C46:8-9)  That is why forgiveness, perfection, and repentance is commonly related to imparting of your substance to the needy and administering relief to others. (Mathew 19: 20-24, Mosiah 4:16-26)  That is why Christ spent His entire life in the service of others.  If you want to know Jesus, take His name upon you by becoming who He is.

In short don't get too attached to your worldly possessions.  Be willing to give up or sacrifice, or submit to the will of God when He requires it of you for the sake of others... Caring for others in the name of Christ will mend and change the broken heart you have to give to the Savior.  Hence sacrifice always involes blessing others

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