Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh Baby!

Most people love a baby. The sounds they make and their sweet smell are unique to babies. Their giggles and smiles are coveted by everyone surrounding them. But what we don't like are the times that they cry seemingly without reason or when they hit the two year mark and have their first 'hissy fit' (temper tantrum). Nobody likes midnight feedings or messy diapers or any of the other 'unpleasant' aspects of babies. But we still love babies even though we know they are sometimes unpleasant to be around.

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11 "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways." Just before this verse Paul is speaking about the greatest gift we can have is love and how we are to show love to one another and then he says this verse right afterwards. When you go back and read the whole chapter you will see what I mean. I believe Paul was addressing how we can act like immature babies sometimes in our dealings with one another, when in fact we are to put off those childish actions and instead show love.

How many times have we demanded our own way or took offense where none was intended? Those are the ways of a child. When have we been selfish or bossy or petulant? Again these are the traits of a child not an adult. Paul was on the right track. He was speaking to Believers, the first Christians and he knew that they still had some of their worldly ways about them, just like we do.

A baby or child in the faith still has a lot of their old ways still in them because they haven't been under the teaching of the Word or haven't had the chance to apply it to their lives as a person who has walked for years with the Lord has. Did you notice that I didn't say 'like a person who has been in church for years?' that was on purpose. Going to church for years doesn't affect us in our actions and behaviours unless we apply what we have learned and are willing to have the Lord change us. But walking with the Lord and wanting to learn and applying what we learn, does affect change in our attitudes and actions.

Being a child in the faith is not necessarily a bad thing. Most children are eager to learn and are hungry for knowledge. So are we to be when we are growing in the faith. We are to come to the Lord with a childlike faith and an open heart. But we are not to come to Him demanding our own way and having a hissy fit. Just like we hate to see our children fighting and squabbling amongst themselves, I'm sure the Lord feels the same way when as adults we do the same thing with other Believers.

Just like the sounds and giggles, and smells and smiles of a newborn baby are attactive to us and the messy diapers and screaming fits are not, so are the actions of Christians. If a Christian is showing true Christian love by putting others first, quick to forgive offenses and hungry for the Word, they are pleasant to be around. But if a Christian is selfish and demanding their own way and offended easily, they are not so great to be around.

I love that old saying 'are you a mouse or a man, squeak up', well I would like to say today 'are you a childish Christian or a mature one, grow up!' The time is short for all of us here on earth. I believe that Jesus is coming back very, very soon and we must be 'about the Father's business'. We don't have time for petty differences or strife in the body of Christ. We need to put off those childish ways and reach others for Christ. We need to start by showing the love of Christ to those around us and forgiving one another as Christ forgave us. It's time to grow up and get busy for Him.

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