Childish or Child-like
I love to do fun things. If something is funny, stupid, or even a little bit dangerous I enjoy every minute of it. I’ve surfed 12-15 foot waves before and if I hear that a tropical storm is coming toward Maryland? I will look seriously at my schedule to see if there is a way to be in Ocean City. Want to go see Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? I do! Got a good fart joke? I’ll probably be the first one laughing at it.
I’ve had people look at me as I watch a stupid movie or laugh at a stupid joke and call me childish.
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that “when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Do you think Paul is saying to us that we are to never have those moments of child-like fun?
I believe that what Paul is calling childish is very different than sharing a good fart joke among friends. You see, children, by their very nature, are selfish. As they talk, think and reason, their minds are looking at ways to improve the outcome of the situation for them. How many times have you seen a 5 year old take their sandwich and Kool Aid and give it to someone who is hungry? Hardly ever.
My children are great. I love them dearly, but they are still immature in their thinking. They are beginning to learn that maturity, but it takes time. That is why childhood is 18 years long! Those 18 years teach both the child and the parent that raising a child is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be multiple problems arise along the way of growing into adulthood, both for the parent and the child. But on their own, these moments do not prevent the fact that the child is growing, maturing.
Many parents have the idea of maturity wrong. I’ve heard adults say that a person is mature enough when:
a) The start puberty
b) They break up with their first girlfriend/boyfriend
c) When they can vote
d) When they can drive
e) When they can drink
All of those moments are great learning moments for the child, but they are not a proof of maturity in any stretch of the imagination. Just because my son gets his first pubic hair does not mean that I would trust him alone with a girl. Just because my daughter breaks up with her first boyfriend doesn’t mean I would trust the advice she gives on men to every woman’s situation.
Just because a child can vote doesn’t mean they understand what that vote stands for.
Just because a child can drive doesn’t mean they should be put behind the wheel of a bus carrying school children.
Just because a child can legally drink doesn’t mean we should give them the credit card and tell them to go into the liquor store to purchase something.
Their minds are still childlike. They have not learned to reason beyond the thoughts of their own circumstances.
But Fred, the only way a person can grow is by experiencing, right?
I don’t need to experience stepping on a board of nails while running full speed to know that I don’t want, or need, to do that. I don’t need to experience the heartbreak of a broken relationship to know that it is bad.
There is only one way to mature – IN CHRIST.
Faith in Christ brings about the change we need to see in our children.
What kind of faith brings about maturity? Childlike!
As we grow, we learn to reason. We learn to think. But what we are thinking about will bring about maturity or immaturity.
In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “”Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Was Jesus saying that we should all go around telling fart jokes and watching movies with stupid humor?
Here, Jesus is talking about our faith.
The one thing children have going for them is their faith. How many kids out there, just because mommy or daddy said so, believe that there is a bunny that shows up on Easter and poops eggs out of its hind end that are filled with candy, money, or Xbox games? Why do kids believe that? Because their parents have told them. Children trust their parents so completely because they are so dependent on them.
You see, we need to see Christ with eyes that trust him completely. When that happens, we show our faith in Him. When that happens, the selfish thought that permeates our souls and lives will fall away and be replaced with reasoning that thinks completely about Christ. Our talk will mature. Our actions will mature. Our daily walk with Christ will mature.
So it isn’t about withholding that extremely funny fart joke or missing the premier of the next Attack of the Killer Tomato movie (I really wish they would make another one of those!), but it is about being able to understand the place that those have in your life and that place Christ has in your life. Christ should reign supreme in our lives. We need to seek Him with the faith of a child so that our daily walk will mature.