Have you ever felt like telling someone: “Give me a break! Don’t be so infantile. Smarten up. Would you please grow up!” We usually issue such a snarky scolding out of exasperation, in the energy of our wicked flesh. But, really – are you frustrated or annoyed with someone’s behaviour or attitude? Sometimes what we see in others, we fail to see in ourselves.
Have you ever found your own mind racing in the wrong direction, imagining all kinds of wild things and harbouring bitter thoughts about someone else? Have you ever caught yourself thinking that some other Christian is getting ahead of you and then, suddenly, you say to yourself: “C’mon, give it up! Smarten up! You are being so infantile. Grow up!” Of course, the next urgent step is – I must humbly confess my sinful thoughts to the Lord.
The Apostle Paul wrote a lengthy letter to the assembly in Corinth, and well past the mid-point of the communiqué, he basically told them to ‘grow up!’ But his words were motivated by love and truth – not feisty snarkiness.
On the subject of spiritual gifts, one Corinthian would say:
“Huh! My gift is better than yours. Look at what I can do. I am really spiritual.”
Another Corinthian might say:
“That’s not fair! I want to be able to do that too. Nobody even notices what I can do.”
And then somebody adds fuel to the fire by saying:
“If you were more spiritual, you would be able to speak in tongues too. Nah, nah ne nah-nah.”
The Apostle Paul was correcting them for their misunderstanding and abuse of speaking in tongues or the gift of languages. He didn’t want them to be acting childishly. Put emotion aside. Put feelings and excitement aside. And abandon pride and the desires of the flesh and, as mature adults, listen to the teaching on the original purpose of the gift of languages and other gifts as well.
Here is what the Lord used the Apostle Paul to write:
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 1Corinthians 14:20
How would you feel if someone put that in a letter to you? Ouch – and yet, that’s what they needed to hear. He was making it clear that, in this matter, they were thinking and acting like kids. It’s good to be like an infant in your innocence towards evil, but on these matters – grow up and think like a mature person.
You are probably not struggling with the issue of speaking in tongues – nor am I. But perhaps Paul’s words are relevant to my situation today. Am I handling an issue like a kid – immaturely? Am I all bent out of shape over something and acting-out to get some attention?
Am I jealous over the kudos another believer is getting? Am I starting to sulk like a child? Am I angry because they didn’t ask me to teach a Sunday School class or hurt because they never asked for my opinion or annoyed because they asked him (not me!) to scout-out the best price for containers to ship clothes to some distant country?
Have you ever been disgusted with yourself, as you nurse your wounds and engage in sulking, with its pathetic variety of techniques? Have you ever said to yourself?
“Give it up! Smarten up! Grow up! Get a life! Do I want to go to my grave acting like this? I’m only hurting myself by thinking and acting like this.” (With all the exclamation marks, of course!)
Dear Child of God – are you troubled by something today and you know you are not happy? Are you clinging to an issue and refusing to move on spiritually? Do the words: ‘Grow up’ fit?
You will never be happy or useful for the Lord until you stop thinking as a child. It is time to move on and allow the Spirit of God to once again resume His ‘maturing’ activity in you.
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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