October 11, 2023
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways (1 Corinthians 13:11).
At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me (Mark 18:1-5).
Paul wants us to give up our childish ways, and Jesus tells us to become like little children. So, which is it?
Jesus, discerning the hearts of his disciples behind their question, rebukes them and tells them they must change and become like little children. Jesus values the humility of the little children, something the disciples were lacking.
So, in humility, yes, we should all be like children. The world would be better for it!
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:20 to stop thinking like children and to think like adults:
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil, be infants, but in your thinking, be adults.
We should value, protect, and emulate the innocence of children when it comes to evil in the world.
It’s thinking like children that gets us in trouble. We must have the humility and innocence of a child without speaking, thinking, or reasoning like one.
When Paul became a man, he gave up childish ways.
I can think of many men who have failed to do that, most of whom are in political office. It’s easy to point out politicians on both sides of the aisle who act like children. They are selfish, bratty, spoiled, and lie as often as they breathe. They don’t apologize for their mistakes and call one another names. I don’t see the humility that Jesus esteems. And like the child who throws a fit in the toy aisle at Target, it’s embarrassing.
Of course, it’s easier to see the childish ways of others than to recognize them in ourselves!
A man still holding onto his childish ways of speaking, thinking, and reasoning is a shadow of the man the Lord wants him to become.
We’ll explore this more next week.