What were you thinking?
February 11, 2022, 10:07 AM

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 

It's official...I have become my parents…I guess my Progressive Insurance didn’t help me after all. I don't know when the switch officially happened, but the other day I caught myself saying something I swore I would never utter: "…because I said so!" 

Ever since that experience, I've paid attention to my interactions with my kids, and, suffice to say, there's no denying that I'm bilingual. I'm so proficient at speaking "Parentese" I could teach a Rosetta Stone course on it. Here are just a few of the many phrases that have passed through my lips:

Quiet! I can't hear myself think!
Are your legs broken?
Turn off the lights... I'm not made of money.

However, my go-to dad phrase comes out most often in the form of a question: What were you thinking? I'm often baffled at some of the decisions my children make. They defy logic, common sense, or sound reasoning. Their train of thought is like an Amtrak that's come off the rails and burst into flames. I shouldn't be surprised. Bonehead decisions marked most of my childhood...just ask my mother. But, fortunately for me and the rest of humanity, I put those childish ways behind me. After all, society tends to look down on a grown man-child. 

As we explore today's passage, we read a plea to mature spiritually. Speaking to the believers in Corinth, the Apostle Paul urges them to give up their childish ways. Unfortunately, the same naive thinking that got us in trouble as a child can also derail our faith and hinder our impact. Typically, my kids' answer to my question of "what were you thinking?" is simple: they weren't. Isn't that also true of our regrets as adults? Kids aren't the only ones who fail to consider how today's choices shape who they become in the future. 

Being childish and impulsive go hand-in-hand. "Act first, think later" is our mantra. The allure of our immediate needs, wants, and desires encourage a shortsighted view. Residing at the heart of every childish decision we make is selfishness. We're utilizing playground thinking when our sole focus is on what benefits us. It's impossible to serve and love others if our concern is on what's "MINE!" 

And, finally, have you ever tried to reason with a child or help them see the error in their ways? Talk about an exercise of futility. I know my girls aren't the only teens who've perfected how to eye-roll while simultaneously scoffing and saying, "I get it, Dad. I know!" I also know that I'm not the only one who is guilty of disregarding wisdom and foolishly thinking I have this whole faith thing figured out. 

Those who stop learning, stop growing. An unteachable spirit stunts our growth. And as a result, instead of being filled with mature adults who possess a vibrant faith, the modern church can look like a gathering of children stubbornly stuck in their ways. Standing up and making a difference in this broken world requires us to grow up. And the only way that can occur is if we give up our childish ways. What childish ways do you need to give up? What would it look like to "grow up"?

Prayer: Father God, with humility and grace, I want to grow in my knowledge and understanding of You. Help me to leave my childish ways and grow into the person You want me to become. Thank you for loving me in spite of my flaws and mistakes and giving me the opportunity to have a relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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