“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
–Matthew 18:3 (NLT)

Like many people, I love C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books. They are great works of adventure and fantasy, and they are chock-full of Christian symbolism and references to Bible stories and scriptures. But one moment near the end of the final chronicle never fails to make me sad. Susan Pevensie, one of Narnia’s most famous children, is absent when the series’ other heroic children have arrived in this book’s version of the kingdom of heaven. We learn that Susan was always so eager to enter the grown-up world that she has put everything associated with childhood, including that silly fantasy about Narnia, behind her. She is “No longer a friend of Narnia” because of this attitude, so we never see her again.

In the above passage from Matthew, Jesus warns us that we will be denied entrance into heaven if we are like Susan, and we lose all of our childlike qualities. As we grow older, we tend to become set in our ways, and we dismiss everything we believed in as children. Instead of taking this path, I believe we should become more childlike in order to please God, and ultimately meet with Him in heaven. Here are just a few qualities I believe we should attempt to hold onto.

First, young children depend entirely on their parents’ care and guidance. At one time, none of us were capable of caring for ourselves. We needed and thrived on the ability of our parents to care for all of our needs. Furthermore, we would run to our parents’ arms whenever there was trouble, and when anger or sadness colored our lives for any reason. Similarly, God longs for us to depend on His care, wisdom and guidance. He tenderly loves all of us, and He wants us to know and love Him in return.

Secondly, children are very open people. They have an ever-present sense of wonder and excitement. They can easily find the joy in seemingly mundane things, like reading their first road signs or traveling on the bus for the first time. They love to create new stories and use their imaginations, instead of being bounded by the conventions of reality. They are always ready to learn new things in school, and they are quite curious about everything in their world. Most importantly, they are willing to have simple faith in people, and believe in places and things which cannot be seen by grown-up eyes. This openness, imagination and faith will be essential in heaven. The wonders God is preparing for us will be much more amazing than we can currently fathom, so it will take a lot of childlike wonder and faith to see and understand everything there.

Finally, children are very willing to give and receive love. Kids have a wonderful sense of love and trust which flows from them. If their parents have raised them on a loving foundation, kids are happy to bring that love out into the world. God’s eternal love provides a very solid foundation, and our mission is to bring that love into this dark and corrupted world.

I believe God wants us to retain and demonstrate all of these childlike qualities, instead of allowing adult beliefs to take full control. If you think it’s a difficult task to change your mindset to a simpler and more open one, think about what C.S. Lewis said about Susan’s fate in his final Narnia book. He states that although Susan didn’t make it to heaven during the span of that book, she has plenty of time to change her adult ways and finally get through heaven’s gates. In the same way, all of us can learn to be more childlike, if we’re willing to work at it.

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