At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 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.” (Matthew 18:1-3)
Unless You Are Converted
The disciples of Jesus frequently argued about who among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Their view of the work of the Lord was clouded by their pride and misunderstanding of the divine plan. Jesus used a child to draw an impact lesson to their minds. Children of God are children in their hearts. Without becoming like a child, service in the kingdom of heaven is impossible. Before a heart can become like a child, a change must take place. Jesus did not tell the disciples to become children. He told them to change their hearts and become as little children. Often lost in the admonition of a child-like heart is the need for conversion.
Arguing about who would be greatest in the kingdom highlighted a problem that men had yet changed their lives to be entirely devoted to the Lord. The disciples of Jesus did not realize their teacher and master would soon die on a Roman cross. It came as a shock and with dismay, the disciples scattered. Jesus told them He had to die but that God would raise Him from the dead. They did not hear him. Following Jesus was an intellectual journey until they saw Him die. Then everything changed and the eleven devoted their lives to the Lord. That change occurred when their hearts finally had been converted to the will of the Father.
To be a Christian for many is an intellectual journey where they go through the motions and do the “right” things in the “right” way but have never changed their lives to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Little has changed in their lives. They still think as they did before. Their immodesty continues with no change. Habits are seldom changed with an acceptance of the carnal trappings of the world (dancing, drinking, smoking, gambling, etc.). The group of friends they had before becoming a Christian continues to make up a large part of their lives. Work remains the first place in the constant pursuit of the rat race. If the boss wants them to work on Sunday, the Christian sees no harm and is willing to miss multiple times.
Conversion is a notable change with evident expressions of a change of heart, mind, and soul. Jesus said a true disciple is a changed person. If a man or woman has never changed their life for the glory of God, they have never fully become part of the kingdom of heaven. Conversion is not accepting the moral code of the church to follow a set plan in specific steps. The real convert is a heart that has converted the old ways to new ways. There is a new way of thinking. Women begin covering themselves with sobriety and modesty. Habits of the old life are put away so that all can see Christ living in the example of the Christian. Conversion may require a change of friends who are not influencing the heart to heavenly thoughts. A courageous heart will explain to the employer that Sunday is a sacred day that will not be missed on account of work. God comes first without exception.
A converted heart knows the price paid for salvation. Jesus gave up equality with the Father, offered His life for the sins of all men, and agreed to subject Himself to the Father when all things are accomplished. In a fashion, Jesus converted His existence to save men. He asks for those who want to be His disciples to change their lives. There is nothing a man will give up that will measure to the gift of God through Jesus Christ. When a man converts his life to the glory of God, he will find the unfathomable measure of God’s love. Are you converted?