19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
On one occasion during the Savior’s mortal ministry, his disciples asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” This was not the only time they had wondered about their status relative to other people. (See Luke 22:24-27, Mark 10:35-45.) On this occasion, the Savior responded by inviting a small child to join them and saying:
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3-4).
After His resurrection, when the Savior appeared to the Nephites and Lamanites, He told them that they could not inherit the kingdom of God without repenting, becoming like a little child, and being baptized. (See 3 Nephi 11:37-38.)
Mormon instructed his son Moroni to “teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children” (Moroni 8:10).
In the passage above, King Benjamin lists a number of characteristics of small children which we need to emulate if we are to be changed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ from an “enemy of God” to a “saint:”
- Submissive – quick to adapt and to comply with requirements
- Meek – unpretentious, unassuming
- Humble – deferential, respectful and not thinking of oneself as better than other people
- Full of love – naturally desiring others’ happiness, caring
- Willing to submit to will of the Lord – trusting, willing to accept one’s limitations
Today, I will strive to become “as a child.” I will strive to submit my will to the will of God, to adapt quickly, and to place myself on an even playing field with other people. I will remember that the transformative power of the Atonement is only available to people who are willing to emulate children in these ways.