April 7, 2020
I Still Have Some Growing Up to Do
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"When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)
It wasn't the first time I had hunted Easter eggs.
But it was the first year I no longer believed a big, magical bunny hid the eggs for me to find. I stood in the dew-covered lawn and shivered in my flannel nightgown. Empty basket in hand, I secretly felt foolish, worried someone would see me in my pajamas.
Eight years old going on 30, I already knew Jesus was the real reason for the season.
Still, I played along because I saw the excitement dancing in my aunt's eyes. She delighted in times like this when she helped take care of my sister and me. I didn't want to let her down.
My sister and I returned from the garden, baskets overflowing with multicolored eggs. "Let's see what the Easter Bunny gave you!" exclaimed my aunt, and I pasted on a smile I hoped looked real. Still, I was delighted to find the coins, stickers, bead necklaces and chocolate inside the eggs. The gifts momentarily distracted me from the new, wondrous, uncomfortable truth I had discovered: I was growing up.
Yet I still had a lot of mental, emotional and spiritual growing to do.
It took decades to recognize my childish thinking patterns, which persisted into adulthood. I didn't believe in fictional characters anymore, but I did subscribe to wrong ideas about God, others and myself. Until I addressed my immature thinking, my spiritual growth was stunted.
The Bible gives us a vivid example of believers trapped in childish thinking. When the Apostle Paul began ministering to the church at Corinth, he faced this challenge. The Corinthians could only handle simple truths instead of meaty teachings. Due to their childish self-focus, Paul constantly had to review basics with them. He emphasized how they needed to view God, others and themselves in the right way.
Right before Paul penned his famous love verses in 1 Corinthians 13, he wrote how the church was squabbling over small matters when big issues were at stake. He followed with a well-known passage on the mature qualities of true love, then reemphasized the basic truth he wanted them to grasp:
"When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11).
I can be like the Corinthians and settle for childish thinking instead of moving on to mature thinking.
I had to overcome my childish view of God as a harsh punisher but also a vending machine. By studying the Bible, I learned how loving, patient and kind He was to me. As my faith matured, my friendship with God flourished.
I needed to adjust my thinking about my relationships. After much struggle, grief and surrender, I have learned to be assertive and independent, rather than passive and codependent. And I've found more joy in serving people than determining how they could cater to my needs.
Most challenging of all, I've had to mature in the ways I viewed myself. My inner critic no longer sits on my mind's throne, pronouncing judgment over real and perceived failures. When Jesus took the throne of my thought life, He reigned over my mind with truth and peace.
For all who struggle with speaking, thinking and reasoning like a child, there is a solution. Jesus is the One who helps us take thoughts captive and examine which ones need maturing. Then, as we learn to submit to God's loving authority in our lives, He transforms our hearts and minds to be more like His.
Lord, I want to put away childish thinking with Your help. Show me where my thoughts are immature in how I perceive You, others and myself. Help me take every thought captive, examine it and transform it for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 6:1a, "So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding." (NLT)
James 1:4, "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (NIV)
Trusting God is the hardest lesson to learn but the most crucial. But trust feels incredibly difficult when hard times come. How do we keep trusting God when our hearts are broken? How do we choose trust when it seems so much easier to try to take control? Download this FREE devotional today.
For help in pursuing mature thinking patterns, grab a copy of Sarah Geringer's book, Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In which area of your life do you need to put away childish thought patterns? Post a prayer request for transformed thinking in the comments section, and if you do, say a prayer for the person whose name is right above yours.
© 2020 by Sarah Geringer. All rights reserved.