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“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child...”. 1 Corinthians 13:11


“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”. 1 Corinthians 13:11

(Leia em português aqui.) 👈 (Read in portuguese here.)

Shall we talk about maturity?

As strange and meaningless as it may seem, people in society, men and women, become adults but do not mature properly; especially when we consider today's society, in which we can see, without much effort, all kinds of childish behaviors being practiced daily and everywhere, including within the congregational environment.

And what are these childish things?

People are growing up, but they are not becoming adults in the fullest sense of the word, they are still being dragged along by their own emotions, without any resistance; they continue to believe in all sorts of social illusions; they continue to be dominated by their feelings, especially the most harmful ones; they lie and believe their own lies to be true; they continue to be easily deceived and manipulated by anyone who makes a promise to them; they keep clinging and indulging in their vanities and passions; they remain fickle in their own thoughts; they remain slaves to their own wills; and much more, just as they did during childhood.

Children, boys and girls, do not have emotional control or sentimental balance, they always speak what comes to their mind without reflecting, they act on impulse, they have superficial thoughts about everything, they are stubborn and are easily deceived, but this is not shameful for them, for the simple fact that they are very young and such behaviors are typical of childhood; but there are billions of people aged 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, or even older, who behave in exactly the same way, and that brings us to an important conclusion; which is: Age does not mean maturity, just as growth does not necessarily mean maturation. For this reason, also, the apostle Paul made the following observation written in 1 Corinthians 14:20, which says: “Brothers, be not children in understanding; however, in malice be you children, but in understanding be men.”.

Although people think they are becoming adults only because each year they get "older" and acquire certain personal, professional, social and even congregational responsibilities; in fact, they don't realize that, deep down, they are just becoming grown boys and girls, since outwardly they are fulfilling everything that is expected of them as responsible individuals, with regard to society; they study, work, vote, marry, start a family, raise children, join or lead congregations, buy possessions, acquire and accumulate goods (social treasures), and much more, however, deep down, internally, they continue to incur in the same childishness as when they were children, they continue to carry the same mentalities and behaviors that they had during childhood, throughout their lives, and this is always amplified by each year they live.

But what childish mentalities are those people carrying?

There is an absurdly large number of them and we have already mentioned some of them above, things like, stubbornness, impulsiveness, emotional lack of control; but I'm going to cite here below a few more that anyone can easily identify around them, or even in themselves, these days. Anyone who thinks, speaks and behaves according to these mindsets below (or the many similar ones), no matter what age they are, is not mature and is still behaving in a childish way.

People who act like this:

* Engaging in online Discussions and aggressive debates about politics, religion, sports or any other controversial topic;

* Needing to be always right;

* Gossiping about any kind of matter, worldly or in congregations;

* Inventing false facts, false news, half-truths and "alternative truths", the famous "fake news";

* Constant searching for validation and personal appreciation on social medias;

* Being intransigent;

* Being intolerant;

* Desiring to draw attention;

* Envying;

* Constantly restless;

* Always Mumbling;

* Displaying disloyalty;

* Being unfaithful;

* Showing irritability;

* Mentally insecure;

* Feeling victim.

And much more.

The spirit of the world has indoctrinated people to believe that being an adult is just abandoning the toys and games of childhood while embracing the social responsibilities related to family, work, business and congregation, but what our enemy does not reveal is that, in fact, being adult is much more than that; to be truly adult means, first of all, to grow into maturity; and that means developing mental balance and emotional maturity; sentimental maturity, intellectual maturity (of thoughts), and, of course, spiritual maturity; besides, of course, physical maturity, which is the only one that will occur naturally, independently of our will.

It is this full development that characterizes a truly adult man and woman before God and also before other people, as was shown, for example, with the young prophet Samuel, when the biblical text states the following passage: "Now the boy Samuel grew and was in favor both with the Lord and with the man.”. 1 Samuel 2:26. This verse says "...grew..." to indicate that the young Samuel was developing fully, physically, mentally and spiritually, that is, he was maturing; in other words, young Samuel not only grew, but also matured in his thoughts, feelings, emotions, words, works, faith, and spirit. Note that the same also happened to Christ himself; see what is written: "And Jesus increased in wisdom (in broad and full understanding) and stature and years, and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52. Our heavenly Father expects that this process of full maturation will also happen to all of us, not only in our bodies, in our physical stature, but also, and especially, in our minds, hearts and spirits.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”, and the essence of this teaching is : "When I was a child, I talked, thought and acted like a child; but when I became an adult, I matured, and started to think, talk and act like one.”.

And what does that mean?

It means that there are people who are physically adult, but whose mind, heart and spirit have not developed in the way they should, they remain stubborn, murmuring, envious, affected, attached, chatty, self-centered, passionate, and much more, however, true adults, like the prophet Samuel, the apostle Paul and Christ himself, are those who think with wisdom and intelligence, speak with righteousness, truth and clarity, and act with faith and piety. Only those who mature in their thoughts, feelings, emotions, faith, deeds and words truly become adults before God, growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Creator, as the apostle Peter also wrote to us in: "...Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." 2 Peter 3:18; for the will of God for all the saints is that they mature before Him to reach a level similar to what Christ showed us in his deeds, words, thoughts, faith and actions; therefore it is also written that: "Until we all come to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God, a perfect man, to the measure of the full stature of Christ, that we may no longer be children tossed about with every wind of doctrine, by the deceit of men who, with cunning, deceive deceitfully." Ephesians 4:13-14

A mature person, regardless of age, does not say anything rashly, does not act on impulse, but keeps constant vigilance over his own behavior, discerns all things well, guides his thoughts always by virtues such as fairness, piety, simplicity, moderation and others like those shown in Holy Scripture; a truly mature person is not affected by passions and vanities, does not waste time dueling with fools who do not want help, do not desire anything too much, do not cling to self-created illusions or self-imposed suffering. All true Christians are people just like that, free from all mental and social affectations and inclinations that are nothing more than childishness of the flesh that only aim to keep people in a constant illusion telling themselves they are adults, but neglecting the action and the benefits of full maturity.

Here's another example:

In 1 Timothy 4:12 it says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the faithful, in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.". This same valuable teaching that Paul gave to the then young Timothy, also applies to us, whatever our age, from the moment we leave biological childhood; In other words, Paul was saying, "It doesn't matter, Timothy, that you are young; behave maturely and no one will despise you. Show maturity in the way you speak, in the way you act, in your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, in spiritual things, in faith and in holiness; then you will be an example to the faithful.".

Similarly, for us, it does not matter how old we are, whether we are young like Timothy or more experienced like Paul himself; what matters to us is to develop and demonstrate maturity in all areas and levels of our life, materially, mentally and spiritually; only in this way we will be able to reach the stature of Christ, resembling Him in thoughts, feelings, emotions, words, works and following the magnificent example that He left to us as a path to be followed during our existence. Emotional and sentimental balance, intellectual sobriety and spiritual clarity are the basis of maturity, and this is an inseparable part of the soul of all genuine Christians that, through the centuries, has made them overcome all the "adult childhood" of worldly society to live in the fullness of understanding and wisdom concerning their own physical and spiritual life.

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