Chapter 18 starts off by describing how unless we become like little children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. This got me thinking about the characteristics of a child that I should implement in order to be obedient. Surely Jesus is not talking about childish behaviors such as hiding chocolate wrappers in couch cushions or testing a parents patience. Rather he seems to be referring to the dependency a child has on his parents for every need that must be filled, the love reciprocated to that parent as those needs are met, and the innocent joy that children have as they learn about life.
I was blessed with a unique situation. As an adult, I have been able to witness a child grow up and yet be able to objectively scrutinize him without the blind adoring love that parents seem to have. That is because he is my brother. Now an outsider might believe that with an 18 year gap between he and I, I would act like the mature, married, and moved out adult that I am and therefore coddle the kid. However, there are many times I catch myself treating him just as I would my other siblings and demonstrating that there is a pecking order of which I am at the top (all out of love of course).
Now I say all this because during this objective scrutiny, I have been able to watch and truly appreciate the life of a loved child. The joy he has about everything is contagious. I got to witness him on Christmas. Every present he opened was met with a squeal of delight. He was oblivious to the costs expended for the gift and carried no guilt or disappointment. Strictly joy. It is nearly disappointing that Jesus needs to tell us to emulate a child-like love of him, because the pure joy that children possess should be our natural response to the blessings he has heaped upon us. Therefore, let us obey Matthew 18:1-5, depend on Christ, and possess child-like joy!