Jump Start #3266
Jump Start # 3266
1 Corinthians 14:20 “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature.”
Several times in the Scriptures children are used as an illustration. Jesus told the disciples to be converted as a child. The relationship with God is pictured as a parent-child family concept. God is our Father. We are the children of God.
But here in our passage today, Paul uses the illustration of children in a negative way. Don’t be children in your thinking. Later in this letter he would say, “act like men.” Today, we’d simply say, “Grow up.” Contextually, our passage is found in a series of chapters about spiritual gifts. The Corinthian church was inside out about these things. Jealousy and bad attitudes prevailed. As the apostle instructs them on these things, “do not be children in your thinking,” becomes a part of this.
There are times when those very words need to be repeated today. Childish thinking. Spoiled people. Ungrateful and inconsiderate of others have pushed and strained fellowship in far too many congregations. There are days when we are our own worse enemy.
Childish thinking is illustrated by:
First, our impatience with one another. Patience is hard. It’s much more than simply waiting. Clogged highways, and filled doctor’s offices will cause one to wait. We wait because we have to. But on the insides, our biscuits are burning, we feel compelled to say something negative and it ruins our day. I know. I’ve been there. Patience is hard. Patience is waiting without become unraveled. Patience is maintaining a good attitude while you wait. The first word Paul uses to describe agape love is patience.
And, children are impatient. “Are we there yet,” is spoken on nearly every road trip. “How long until we are there?” they cry. Take a trip to Disney with the kids, and before the vacation ends, mom and dad are declaring, “Never again.” The long lines and impatient little hearts are not a good combination on a hot Florida day.
As brethren, we can become impatient with one another. We expect results NOW. We want apologies NOW. We want immediate growth out of new converts. We want, we want and we want. Not everyone moves at the same pace. Some have been fighting issues for a long, long time. Some have a hard time seeing things clearly. And, for the impatient among us, that just steams us more.
Second, our inability to deal with difficult people and situations. Put two kids in the back seat of the car, and before you pull out of the driveway, one is screaming that the other took his toy or that the other poked and touched him. It’s not the toy. It’s not the touch. It’s the fact that they can’t get along is the problem.
And, the same is seen in the church. Someone is sitting in my seat. I don’t like the length of his hair. I think he should say things differently as we begin worship. I don’t like the way she dresses. I don’t like how they do the Lord’s Supper. I don’t like the song books that we use. I don’t like how cool they keep the building. I don’t like…I don’t like…I don’t like.
The inability to deal with adversity, things that we don’t like, and things that are uncomfortable to us makes us irritable, stressed, miserable and angry with others. Children pout. Children throw fits. Children cry. Children make little things bigger than what they are.
The apostles words are: do not be children in your thinking. Grow up. Have the mind of Christ. Interestingly, the same apostle shares with us three bears:
· Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)
· Bearing with one another (Col 3:13)
· Forbearing spirit be known to all (Phil 4:5)
Less like children, and more like the bears. The Bible’s “Three little bears,” goes a long way in smoothing out tension in the flock and making life easier for everyone.
Stop thinking like children is a choice of disciples. Those words don’t work well with a kid. Stop thinking like a child, is hard when one is a child. That’s the only way he knows how to think. But for disciples, it’s a choice. Think like Jesus or think like a child.
Something for all of us to consider.