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Friday, January 27, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 171

The Gifts Part 76

Tongues continued...

1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Although many within the house of God today insist that raising a hand, saying a prayer, throwing a few bucks in the offering plate, then getting on with the rest of your life is all that’s required of a child of God, in a roundabout way Paul is telling the church at Corinth, and by association every believer, that perpetual spiritual infancy is detrimental to one’s wellbeing.

We were all children, we all spoke as children, we all understood as children, we all thought as children, but as we grew, as we matured, as we became adults we put away childish things.

I see every area of my life differently today than I did thirty years ago, I understand things differently, I think about things on a whole different scale, because the way of things is that as we grow and mature we change and do away with those things that we once enjoyed out of immaturity and childishness.

Granted, society today is trending toward keeping people in the same infantile state in perpetuity, encouraging them to essentially play with the same toys as they did in their youth, only more expensive versions of them. Fully grown men, who should have by now put away childish things, are still spending hours on end playing video games, attempting to jump off homes using table cloths as makeshift parachutes, sticking fireworks in watermelons just to see them blow up, and scores of others things that should have been abandoned with the onset of facial hair.

I think the most attractive thing about remaining childlike in words, thoughts and understanding is the lack of accountability and responsibility that is implied. When you’re a child and think as a child there are no bills to pay, there is no grocery shopping to be done, there is no laundry to fold, life is good and absent responsibilities of any kind save for going to school. You know that someone will have made breakfast and packed you a lunch, you know that as evening approaches dinner will be ready, and you only begin to understand the struggles your parents went through to put that food on the table once you grow up, move out, get married, and have a family of your own.

Some people never want to grow up, some people never do, and refusing to mature is as debilitating spiritually as it is emotionally or physically. Although immaturity might not seem like such a bad thing to most people, when we dig down to the root of certain issues we see that immaturity or some version thereof was the cause of it. I have seen marriages fall apart due to immaturity, because either one or both of the individuals in question still thought as children, and understood as children.

On the one hand the wife thought she was a princess, that she was supposed to be put on a pedestal, and have every want catered to, and on the other hand the husband thought his wife was a substitute for his mother, who was only there to cook and clean and make sure he gets off to school on time. For someone stuck in an immature understanding, the notion of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church, or of wives submitting to their husbands is as baffling, mystifying, and bewildering as calculus to a chimpanzee. This is just one of many examples that I can share whose root cause was a childish mentality, and a childish understanding of this present life.

When I was a child I spoke as a child; I didn’t have to weigh my words, I didn’t have to measure them, I didn’t have to guard my tongue, I didn’t have to wonder if I was hurting someone’s feelings with the words I was saying. You will never find a more brutally honest creature on the face of the earth than a child. My niece is seven going on forty, and she notices everything. If I let my beard grow out a few days and I happen to visit she’ll dutifully point out that I look homeless, If I gain a little winter weight she’ll dutifully point out that I’m getting fat again, and it’s not because she’s mean spirited or trying to hurt my feelings, she is a child, and speaks as such.

When it comes to lack of guile, innocence, ability to trust, or dependence on one’s parents, it is good to be childlike. When it comes to words and thoughts and understanding however, it is mandatory that we grow and mature as any child eventually does.

This was the essence of Paul’s issue with the church at Corinth. Like any children would, they wanted the new toys, they wanted to possess them, and play with them, and show them off to the other children in the hopes that the other children would be jealous. Because they lacked maturity, because they lacked understanding those of the church of Corinth had not learned to respect the work of God, go about it reverently, keep themselves away from sin, or even discern between good and evil. These were concepts that required maturity, and maturity was something that the Corinthians lacked.

Rather than be united in love and purpose, the Corinthian church had degraded to the point that they were all playing ‘the apostle I follow can beat up your apostle’ or ‘my gift’s better than your gift’, utterly dismissing the deeper things of God, or the standard to which God had called them.

Sin was running rampant, division was abundant, the work of God was being ignored and disdained, yet those of Corinth continued to cling to their childish thoughts, words and understandings.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

MaryL said...

That was the best explanation of Cor. 13:11 I have ever heard!! Excellent and wonderful! Thank You!