When I was a child I learned a song that forever changed my life.
"Jesus once was a little child,
A little child like me;
And he was pure, and meek and mild,
As a little child should be.
So, little children, let's you and I
Try to be like him,
Try, try, try.
I often pondered that Jesus was a baby and child. I had baby brothers. They grew. I was a child. I was growing. The pleasant melody surfaces every so often and runs through my mind, calling for me to remember that I am God's child. I consider being a child - me, right now - as unlearned and simple as a little child - and growing.
Jesus taught, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mathew 18:3)"
How do I, an adult, grow like a child?
This week, while studying my Book of Mormon student Manual (page 139-141) along with the first part of the Book of Mosiah, I learned much about having hope from Neil A Maxwell, of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as he discussed how we might accomplish the task of changing our 'natures' to become more [child like] - like the Savior, "Personal righteousness, worship, prayer, and scripture study are so crucial in order to '[put] off the natural man'.(Oct 2000 General Conference)"
In an earlier 1994 address 'Brightness of Hope' he suggested another tool, along with a caution for putting off the natural man: "Hope helps us to walk by faith, not by sight. This can actually be safer. When unaided spiritually, natural sight often shrinks from the odds (see 2 Cor. 5:7). It is immobilized by improbabilities. Mauled by his moods and intimidated by his fears, the natural man overreacts to, while hope overrides, the disappointments of the day.
Hope is particularly needed in the hand-to-hand combat required to put off the natural man (Mosiah 3:19). Giving up on God and on oneself constitutes simultaneous surrender to the natural man. Daily hope is vital, since the 'Winter Quarters' of our lives are not immediately adjacent to our promised land either. An arduous trek still awaits, but hope spurs weary disciples on."
I experience such growing.
Sometimes it is difficult.
President Eyring further taught, "... the things we do are the means not the end we seek. What we do allows the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change us into what we must be. Our faith in Jesus Christ brings us to repentance and to keeping His commandments ... In time our natures will change. We will become as a little child."
I want to change.
I want to become His child.