On Putting Childish Things Behind Us And Growing Up

Lately I’ve been meditating (and I don’t mean meditating in the “cross-legged in the dark” way, but rather the “meditate on my words day and night” kind of Biblical way) on the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:11 where he says,

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (NIV)

What kind of childish ways is Paul talking about here? And what is the benefit of putting them behind us?

I think it is fair to say that Paul is not talking about childish things out of which we naturally mature. He’s not talking about riding bikes with training wheels or playing marbles or collecting Pok√©mon cards. He’s addressing talking, thinking, and reasoning. He’s talking about thought processes and behaviors that stem from personal growth and development over time - things that we have to nurture and cultivate.

I don’t think that “thinking” here refers to superficial things like what Johnny thinks of you, or whether you should start thinking about what to eat for dinner, or what you think about the Dodgers this year. I think Paul is talking about deep things that kids don’t think about. Things like “Why am I here?” “What does my life mean?” “Is there eternity?”, and “If God exists, of what consequence is that to me?” These are questions worth thinking about and worth finding answers for. If we don’t think about them or choose to ignore them, it means we have not matured.

Talking, I think, refers to what James says about taming the tongue in chapter 3 of his book. It means thinking before you say things. How do kids talk? Kids gossip on the playground. Kids lash out when insulted. They wail and complain when they don’t get their way. Kids are vocal about the fairness of life. Kids swear because it provokes a reaction. Kids boast about their possessions or parents, things over which they have relatively little or no control. These are the things that we should put behind us. Growing up means gaining wisdom, discretion, and holding your tongue until after you analyze the many colors that taint a situation.

A child’s world is fairly black-and-white, and it is easy to reason in such a world. If you fall off your bike, you get scrapes. If Billy hits you, you hit him back. If you eat a slushie too fast, your head hurts. If little Susie down the street likes you, that’s gross. It’s all too easy to extend this logic to the grown-up world as well. If they are poor, they deserved it. If he drives a nicer car, he is more successful then you. If they have more money, God likes them better. This kind of logic leads to envy, contempt, malice, and depression. It shows a shallow understanding of the people around us and the world in which we live. Adults should rather eschew judgment for insight and anger for patience.

Giving up childish ways is a step towards perfection in Jesus Christ. As He is perfect, so we must strive to be like Him. Through striving to be like Him, we mirror, though poorly, His character to the world. By growing up in speech, though, and reason we let Christ’s light shine through us. As the Bible is the Word of God, through reading it can we know God’s character and hence the goals and essential qualities that we should aim to attain. These are grown-up qualities, and require investing some real time and effort to acheive.


submit to reddit


I was on NPR!

As I was making lunch today I was listening to a discussion about consumer-driven healthcare, and why that is a better alternative to what we have now or even a single-payer system. I had a question, so I called in and got to talk to the guest, Ms. Regina Herzlinger. You can visit the website here. My question comes a bit after minute 45 in the program. (You might have to wait for a bit for the embedded player to pop up.) I was super nervous and now that I listen to it I see that I totally could have phrased my question better, but whatever. It was my first time calling into a radio show.


submit to reddit