“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
I Corinthians 13:11
Childhood is a wonderful time of life, but the day must come when children become adults. Toys and games are replaced by responsibilities and work. Depending on others gives way to others depending on us. This is also true in the Christian walk. We are to mature and grow spiritually, reaching adulthood as Christians.
Paul mentioned several areas where we need to make the transition from childhood to being responsible adults, including our speech, “I spake as a child.” We need to be mature Christian adults in the way we speak. Our language, as disciples of Christ, should be changing. It is not unusual to hear new believers say things that are inconsistent with the Word of God. This is expected and understood. However, as we grow in grace, we should find that our words are more and more in agreement with the Bible. It is concerning to listen to those who have been saved for many years, but their language is hardly different from those in the world.
We also need to mature in our understanding. In referring to adolescence, Paul said, “I understood as a child.” Those young in the faith may reason in a way that is not Biblical, but we are to grow in our understanding. Children do not understand in the same way as adults. God’s ways are not our ways, and with spiritual maturity will come the ability to be more adult-like in the way we understand.
We are also taught in the Scripture to be mature in the way we think. “I thought as a child” describes immature thinking. Childish thinking is selfish thinking, as typical children think primarily of themselves. With spiritual growth comes more mature thinking. The ability to think properly will result in proper attitudes and actions.
The Word of God tells us that when we become adults we must be willing to “put away childish things.” Putting things away involves mature decisions and choices. Growing up is not always fun, but it is normal and necessary. Having new Christians in a church family is exciting, and watching them grow is rewarding. However, it is disturbing to watch people for many years and see in them no evidence of spiritual growth. We need to be thinking, understanding, and speaking like responsible adults.