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Pointers along the way #57

Putting away childish ways
- Jacob Ninan

No one wants a child to remain as a child. Everyone wants children to grow into maturity. One mark of maturity is to be able to make the right choices in the midst of temptations from within, and suggestions, attractions and pressures from the world around. Children are characterised by their "I want", and their sulking or tantrums when they cannot get what they want. Grown ups who behave like this have not yet grown out of their childish ways.

God wants us, His children, to become mature (Ep.4:13). His word teaches us what is best for us, and He wants us to become able to choose that consistently even when we feel like doing something else. This involves a long learning process from the time we are born again, and never finishes fully as long we are on this earth. This is the school of the cross, where we consistently take up the cross, crucify our desires on it, and walk forward doing what God says is the best for us (Lk.9:23). This is the 'not I but Christ' and 'not my will but Yours.'

Isn't this the essence of becoming mature? On the contrary, isn't it being childish when we insist on our own way and sulk and throw tantrums when we can't get it?

God's best for us can clash not only with what we would like to do, but also with what others want us to do. These 'others' can be our relatives, friends, or anyone else. When what they suggest or even insist on does not fit in with what God tells us to do, the mature man will choose God (Lk.14:26).

It is obviously not true that whatever we feel like or whatever others tell us is always wrong or to be denied. Certainly not. Many times God speaks to us in our heart and through the others. But we shall be childish if we insist on our own way or slavishly do what others want us to do. Maturity is to be able to sift through all these inputs and choose what God wants us to do(1Co.14:20).