Childish Ways

“. . . childish ways.”


When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways.”
(I Corinthians 13:11)

When I stepped out of the car at our son and daughter-in-law’s home in Virginia last week it sounded like we were on the sound stage for a science fiction movie.  The constant whirring from thousands of cicadas created a surprisingly loud and eerie sound throughout most of the day.  The noise lessened as evening came and the cicadas became less active.  They certainly weren’t difficult to find in order to photograph.  They were so plentiful and obliging that some even landed on us.  The cicada pictured above is the adult that flies about and lays its eggs in the bark of trees (if it’s a female).  The eggs hatch and the children or nymphs burrow into the ground and live for seventeen years.  Then they crawl to the surface looking rather hideous like the guy below.



Not long after climbing out of the ground they split the back of their shell and emerge as the adult, ready to lay their eggs and continue the life cycle.  Most creatures have a life cycle that includes a child-like sort of phase.  In this more immature state the animal grows physically, psychologically, and relationally.  In this phase they learn about their own selves, their environment, and how to relate with others and that environment.For humans, this phase involves a lot of exploration, assimilation, and correction.  There are a lot of feelings to be experienced and sorted out as well as a lot of things to be explored and classified – everything from the pots and pans under the kitchen cabinet to the feelings involved during interactions with others.  Young children tend to be impulsive (I want it now!), compulsive ( I have to have it!), and very self-centered (It’s mine and I don’t care what anyone else needs or wants!).  As children these feelings and actions are important because they help develop curiosity, motivation, self-determination, and other important characteristics.  However, maybe these are some of the childish feelings and actions Paul was referring to when he wrote,

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways.”Impulsive, compulsive, and self-centered are not adjectives that most adults would like to have used to describe them.  In a child these characteristics can be cute and important for learning.  In an adult these characteristics often contribute to self destruction and destruction of relationships.   It’s easy for any of us to step into one of these feelings from time to time.  Reflection and self-monitoring are important if we are to avoid slipping back into what the Apostle Paul called, “childish ways.”  To walk in the ways of Jesus’ love and God’s justice we must always be aware that we can never allow these feelings to rule us.  We can especially never allow ourselves to slip into a state of self-centeredness where  Me and Mine are constant driving forces for our feelings, speech, and relationships.  If we do find our selves ruled by childish ways – impulsiveness, compulsiveness, and self-centeredness – we need to pray that God will guide us to the help we need to find healing, wholeness, mature living, and peace.  I give thanks for all that I experienced as a child that helped make me the adult I am today, and I pray that God will keep me walking in the ways of the adult to which Christ’s love calls me.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

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~ by revgenelson on June 5, 2013.

One Response to “Childish Ways”

  1. Excellent post. I am dealing with many of these issues as well..

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