by Kathy Beagles
I like to read Luke 18:9-17 as one passage. When I read it this way, I find insights about my spiritual walk.
Character One is a Pharisee who pretty much has the spiritual disciplines down. He is glad that he has arrived at this place in his life. I know the feeling. When I am exercising, eating right, having my daily devotions, I am pretty happy about it too. But this confidence is short-lived when I am trusting only in myself. When spiritual pride inevitably comes creeping in, I have to look in the mirror and sternly say, “Get over yourself.”
Character Two, the tax collector, knows that his life is messed up. He is not doing the things he wants to. And he continues doing stuff he doesn’t want to (see Romans 7:21-25). But, he admits it. He is open to the fact that he is broken, that he needs a power greater than himself to restore him to sanity. And, he goes down to his house justified. I’ve been there too. When I get discouraged and feel like I will never get it together, I have to look in the mirror and say gracefully, “Keep putting on the robe. Keep yourself covered in the righteousness of Jesus.”
But, I truly want to live a life devoid of either pride or angst. Instead, I want to be like the little children Jesus blessed (Luke 18:15-17). Attachment theory helps me understand how to be like a child in my relationship with God.
Attachment is a lasting psychological bond between human beings. A child that is securely attached to his caregiver believes that the caregiver is always near (John 15:9), always accessible (Hebrews 13:5) and always attentive (John 14:14). For me, receiving the Kingdom of God as a little child means staying securely attached to Jesus and letting Him live His life through me—moment by moment. Only that way can I actually receive the Kingdom of God as a little child.