"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
While in another area of Scripture we read:
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
At first glance one might erroneously conclude that these verses contradict one another. But I believe the proper message to be gleaned here is:
Be Childlike, not Childish.
So what is the difference? Here is a snippet from an article by Jeremy Myers that I believe answers the question:
In Luke 18:17, Jesus says that anyone who does not receive the kingdom like a little child shall not enter into it. Childlike faith provides entrance into the kingdom. And yet many Christians confuse having faith like a child with actually behaving like a child. There are many who may or may not have childlike faith, but who behave in childish ways. Jesus wants us to be childlike, not childish.
Childlike faith trusts. Childlike faith knows no bounds. Childlike faith listens to what is said, and believes it. It believes the most amazing things. Childlike faith is simple. It is pure. It is honest. It is beautiful.
Childishness, on the other hand, is not beautiful. What is childishness? Childishness is childlike behavior gone sour. Childishness is a refusal to grow up. Childishness is when a person of any age acts younger than they are. While it is natural for children to act like children, it is expected that they will grow up and stop acting like children. When they do not, they are being childish. Childishness is when people who should know better throw temper tantrums and pout when they don't get their way. Childishness is when people are irresponsible and behave as if the world revolves around them. Childishness is when people make petty demands and selfish complaints.
My childlike side is one that might make a piece of artwork like the one above. Its a side that helps me play with my kids and to laugh at gaseous noises. It embraces the idea of Abba Father being my Daddy even though I am a grown man. Sure I let childishness enter into the equation at times. But as I continue to mature both physically, mentally, and most especially spiritually...my goal is to put away such things.
Leave a comment about your childlike or childish traits!