If I call myself childish, that is ok…if someone else calls me childish, not so much. The definition of childish is someone who is silly and immature–or is acts inappropriately for their age. It is the Holy Spirit’s desire that every believer grows up. That we learn how to put off childish things.
So what are some of the childish things or ways that we need to put off as we grow up? The first one that comes to mind, is selfishness. Most children come into the world with a “me first” attitude. It is all about me, mine and what about me. As we grow up, we begin to understand that in God’s Kingdom, His way is others first. God uses many things to help us grow up. Selfishness is something we seem to always need to conquer: employment, marriage or parenting put us in situations where self centeredness is unveiled. To put it off takes deliberate concentrated effort to change our focus from self to others. 2 Timothy 3:2 confirms that many adults grow up with these selfish traits in tact. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. This is, unfortunately, a clear description of our world, all childish behaviors.
Another aspect of childishness is being unteachable and letting pride stand in our way of receiving truth in love that will help us. A long time ago, when we were in our early stage of pastoring, I was talking with someone about the scripture dealing with wine/and new wineskins. She had an amazing revelation about it, but due to my pride in our position, I nodded, oh yes, I already knew that. It was silly. It is embarrassing to admit it, I lied. It was a wonderful insight, and I not only missed her truth, but due to pride, I lost the revelation as well. I can’t remember the truth she said, and it still bothers me today. Pride stood in my way of learning from her. Thankfully, I have learned I don’t know it all, and can admit it! There is such freedom in learning from one another. I would ask you to ponder this thought: when was the last time you let someone else teach you something? Or received their thoughts, that were different than your own? Do not let childish pride or stubbornness hinder you from learning from others.
To put off something is to admit that we are wearing it or embracing it. Letting go of foolish jesting or dealing with our carnal mind and the works of the flesh are part of putting off childishness. Many are deceived by Satan in pursuing “freedom” which really is bondage to Satan and his ways. Seeking the pleasures of sin over purity and righteousness is childish behavior. It is time to grow up and mature. The wisdom of God gives us insight and helps us follow Him and His ways.
Putting off childishness helps us grow in discernment and perspective. It helps us run with patient endurance the race that is set before us. It isn’t easy, but if we are going to be lights in this dark world, we need to understand the blessing of maturity. It isn’t about yourself–it is all about Him and His Kingdom. It is learning to lay your life down for Him and others. Learning to speak words of life versus words of death or criticism shows growth. Developing patience in our relationships, walking in forgiveness and love are all examples of maturity.
Father, please help us grow up. Helps us not to cling to childish ways, but to put them off–receiving your righteous robes in their place. Show us where we may be inadvertently be walking in childish behavior. Thy will be done. We trust you to help us grow and mature, because we love you. In Jesus Name, Amen