When I was a Child
1 Corinthians 13:11 “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.”
“When I was a child”…this phrase suggest that these childish things have been “put away”; that the writer here is remembering what the Lord showed him of the things that needed to be removed, that he might grow up into Christ.
The writer here is Paul. It is hard to think that Paul was ever childish, yet we have his testimony here, that even the mighty apostle had to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
(He was writing the Corinthian Church, who were childishly arguing over “who was who”. “I am of Paul, I of Apollos, I of Cephas,….is Christ divided?” 1 Corinthians 1:12-13a.
This was silly, and Paul was writing them to correct their behavior; to help them grow up into Christ.)
And how do we put away childish things?
By knowing the scriptures.
1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.”
It is as we are established in the Word of God, that we are able to know what the Lord is saying to us.
As we read and listen to that Word, the power of the Spirit speaks to us; and He applies them to us.
That power works in the heart. It works understanding of the Word, and then it works obedience to it, so we will receive the blessing of it.
Peter ends his second epistle with this exhortation.
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
Psalm 131:2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”
Our hearts are naturally drawn to worldly things.
But by the grace of God, the soul is “weaned” from the desire for them.
There are three things which the Apostle Paul says he “put away”.
I spake as a child:
1 Corinthians 2:1-2,4-5 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Paul did not speak in all the eloquence he could, so people would applaud him; but spake in the power of the Holy Spirit, about Christ Jesus.
We are to do the same. We are to show forth Christ Jesus. Whether by testimony (about being born again, or right up to the minute about what He has showed us for this situation.), or by giving the gospel message of His salvation.
[This also has reference to talking to the Lord: Our confessions should not be as children, “It got broke”; but, “I broke it, forgive me.”
When we need direction, we should ask for it.
When we need help, we should turn to Him immediately, and not try and “cover up” our lack of knowledge, or struggle through]
I understood as a child:
Ephesians 4:13-15 “Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of Son of God, unto a perfect man, and the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Paul includes himself here; for our “growing up” continues until we get to heaven. We are babes, children, then adults: yet we continue to grow in grace, and get more understanding of Him, as we go along.
To have this understanding, we should work at being steadfast in His Word, and learning how to listen to His Spirit.
We get distracted, we hesitate, we doubt.
But the Spirit is willing to help us with light (knowledge), insight (for the situation), and discernment (about people).
How important these are. He knows, and He will gladly tell us.
I thought (reasoned) as a child:
Paul wrote about himself:
Acts 26:9-11 “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”
This is Paul’s testimony as to the persecution he lead, before being born again, against the church: “I verily thought with myself…”.
He let his own emotions(anger), lead him into doing terrible things against the people of the Lord.
This is childish reasoning: we react to our own feelings toward things.
[Of course, once the Lord struck him down and got his attention; things were different.
But, Paul had refused the testimony of Stephen about Christ; which began his downward spiral into violence against the Lord’s own.
It was of God’s mercy and love that He did not forget about this man (or us: Praise God for His mercy to me, a thousand times over). But His grace saved him! And gave him the right way of thinking]
Let us, as Paul did, and every other Christian can: “put away childish things.”
Put them away, like we put old toys away; to go on with older, more mature pursuits.
How? By the Word of God, spoken, read, and preached: applied to us by His Holy Spirit, for our help.
So let us grow up into Him, and be all He wants for us.