1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. (Matthew 18:1-5)
Something about our fallen sinful nature, we desire being the greatest. This can be on the job, in the church or anywhere else. The apostles argued “who will be the greatest in the kingdom?” In the corporate world, we put a lot of effort into working up the corporate ladder. However, Jesus said “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” What is this all about? Humble myself and become as a little child? Should I not go out and work for it? Afterall, I must earn it? Right? This goes against everything I have been taught.
Honesty is a vital part of humility. Let’s take a look at little children for a moment; they have a hard time with lying. When pressed, they will tell the truth. If children are sad, they will not appear happy and so forth. We adults will ask someone, “How are you doing?” We do not want to hear the words, “not good.” Many times when that happens we want to be on our way. We will also put a mask on our face and pretend all is well when, in fact, it is not.
I believe pride is what keeps people from receiving salvation. Many people believe they will go to heaven when they die. When witnessing, it is beneficial to ask people “on what basis will they enter into heaven.” Many times I have asked some form of that question, yet very few times I have received a response with Jesus’ name in it. I have heard “because I attend church," or "I sing in the choir.” Other common replies are “because I am a good person" or "I try to keep the commandments.” Many put their faith in their “good deeds.” They might say “I try to do the right thing and I am responsible.” I have heard people say “they do not sin.” Ask the question, “Have you ever told a lie?” They will say “no I have not.” Stolen anything? “Nope.” Then there are the people when hearing of grace through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, that He paid their sin debt. They refuse to receive it because “no one is going to pay my penalty for me, it is my debt.” Still others believe God is evil because He will forgive the worst of sinners if they repent of their sins and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. They will say “I would rather spend eternity in hell than with a God who will forgive someone like that.” Pride leads us to these responses. It bases everything on one's self and not God. In other words, it's all about me.
This is where honesty and humility comes in. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he also saw himself as a man with unclean lips. We must be honest and confess our sins to God and not attempt covering our sins ourselves. Remember when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden? They tried hiding and covering themselves with fig leaves? Pride will cause us to try to either hide or cover our own sins, but it is always inadequate. God supplied the only sufficient covering for our sins. As God clothed Adam and Eve, He has provided a covering for us, Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.