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The dangers of competitiveness and self-importance

About this time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a small child over to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

Matthew 18:1-5

Jesus makes a very powerful and bold statement in this Scripture. Let’s open our hearts so we might receive revelation from the Holy Spirit on an important lesson here. The first thing I want to point out is that the disciples assumed that they were already part of the Kingdom of Heaven. “ Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” They made this assumption because Jesus had selected, or called them to be His disciples. But if we look at Jesus’ response we will clearly see that their assumption was wrong. Jesus, after setting a young child in their midst replied, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as a little child, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” So, according to Jesus, they had not entered the Kingdom. Likewise, we should be very careful not to make assumptions based upon our own knowledge, especially where our eternity is concerned. Instead let the Holy Spirit bear witness before we believe it. We see too, that Jesus called their competitiveness and self-importance sin and He required repentance in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. When teammates compete against each other rather than work together, it can cost the team the victory. When a person tries to prove himself important to a group or team, it is usually done by failing to participate, the hope is that the mission will fail and cause the rest of the group to recognize the importance of the one. This why Jesus told the disciples they could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven with this attitude.

Another point to be made is that Jesus was not just giving His opinion here, but He was making a declaration, giving His word, or promising something when He said “I assure you,”. To put it another way Jesus is saying you can take it to the bank. And our opinion does not change anything either, the King of the Kingdom has declared unless you do as prescribed here, you will never enter His Kingdom.

Now let’s look at the answer Jesus gave to His disciples concerning their question “Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus said, “ Therefore, anyone who becomes humble as this little child is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Notice that here is another promise not just for the disciples at that time, but for anyone. Consider this, the recorded works of the twelve disciples (who later became apostles) doesn’t compare to the number of recorded works of Paul,” the least of the apostles.” Do you see the correlation here between the least and the greatest. So there is no misunderstanding let me add that the works referred to here are the works of the Holy Spirit done through the apostles. A child's abilities do not normally compare with an adult’s. So I don’t think that abilities, talents, or gifts are a consideration for greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven. The child’s inabilities however cause the very things that are a consideration for greatness. A child’s inabilities cause him to be dependent on a parent or guardian. Out of this dependency comes trust and from trust comes obedience. Greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven is determined by our dependency, trust, and obedience to our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

In the last part of this text, Jesus said, “ And anyone who welcomes a little child like this, on my behalf is welcoming me.” This statement is more than just a comparison or parable , it is also literal. When we meet the needs of children and show them love in the name of Jesus , we are also allowed to entertain, or have audience with, Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of Kings.
The innocence aspect of a Child is what the Kingdom is referring to, in my opinion. So like, looking at Child's innocence and seeing that the Child isn't corrupt, Holiness in the same way is clean and not corrupt. Therefore, those who enter Heaven must be pure as a Child in that kind of comparison.

Or at least, that's what I'm getting out of all those verses in Matthew.

One thing I do know is that Pride is the ticket that separates man further away from God.
Let the refrain of the true child of God be; I have no ambition, but to be found living in Christ, and to have Christ found living in me.

The world encourages you to be your best, not because that will enable you to help your fellowman, but so you can be proud of your accomplishments, this enabling you to have a sense of self-worth.

The Word encourages you to be your best so you can bring others to a fullness of life in God. True accomplishment and self-worth can only be found in offering our (daily) lives for the cause of Christ (others)

"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all." Phi 2:17

"Holding forth the word of life;(for others)
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." Phi 2:16

The man who does not truly know God, does not understand this. "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain [ including promotions, prestige, success ] is godliness:" 1Ti 6:5

Those may improve your self-worth in the eyes of men, and gain their approval, but they mean nothing to God.

"... The pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 1Jo 2:16

And what does it mean to do the will of God? In the simple words of Paul, "I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;" 2Co 12:15