Childlike or Childish?

This morning after breakfast, Lillyann reminded Mylah that it was Valentine’s Day. Her excitement was contagious, and little Mylah asked, “What is it??” Lilly quickly responded, “It’s a day we love people and eat candy!!” Mylah shared her sister’s glee, and I grinned from ear to ear. I love children, and I suppose that’s why I’ve never really grown up. Growing up is important, and spiritual maturity isn’t an easy process. God’s lesson this week was a sobering one, so I think He put Lilly’s wisdom in the path to lighten up the learning.

In 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, Paul does not mince words. God didn’t mince any this week with me either. Paul is frustrated with the Corinthians, and it shows in his admonition to them.

“But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile?” (The Message)

Ouch! Those are not easy words to hear, but they are words that are necessary to hear if I am to grow into the spiritual maturity God desires for me. Growing up doesn’t mean losing childlike faith. There is a big difference between being childlike and childish, and Paul is talking about the childish behavior that still plagues Christians. We often look like a bunch of spoiled brats to those outside the faith, and that is a stumbling block when it comes to God’s will for His world.

The clear message this week was that God needs for me to move past milk and get to the meat. Another verse in the path this week was one describing a weaned child sitting on his mother’s lap. I love the image in Psalm 131:2

“Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.” (NASB)

A weaned child sits on his mother’s lap with a quiet soul. I’m afraid I’ve been sitting on God’s lap like a hungry infant searching for satisfaction. there is a big difference. I can’t point any fingers at the Corinthians because I’m right where they were. We all are, and I’m learning that seeing and accepting that I have areas which keep me from the joy and love God has in mind is the first, and most difficult, step when it comes to growth. Childlike means understanding I need help and cannot do it on my own. Childish means thinking God should do it for me. They are very different attitudes.

I know God will help me reach the spiritual maturity He desires, and I also know I will kick, scream, and cry along the way. It’s our human nature to want to stay in the flesh rather than step into the spiritual, but Christ left a Helper who will guide my spiritual formation. He is the Holy Spirit and knows exactly what I need.

I plan to follow Lilly’s advice today because I know that Jesus would appreciate her simple wisdom. I think the world would be a much better place if we all loved people and ate candy today. Here’s wise little Lilly looking a bug with childlike wonder 🙂


Author: Gigi

I taught middle school for 33 years and retired in 2007. I'm enjoying my journey and loving the time I have with my three granddaughters who call me "Gigi." I want to share my journey with them and with anyone else interested in sharing the lessons God has for me on this amazing journey.

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