“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.” –1 Corinthians 13:11 (TNIV)
There comes a time in our lives, if we’re extremely fortunate, when a spirit of change, and an earnest seeking to truly mature, sweeps over us. None of us are born mature; and to a point, we never really ‘arrive’ at maturity.
Yet, we might ask, ‘If I’m an adult, what are “childish ways”? ... Haven’t I already dealt with my childishness?’
Not according to Paul. ‘Childish ways’ are displayed by physically-adult people all the time.
A form of childishness is selfishness; another is to love conditionally. It’s an emotio-spiritual (my word) childishness that leaves one barely adult at all. And half of it stems from a mental childishness, based in disciplines never acquired and myelinations (neural pathways) never established.
Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you… For if you [only] love those who love you, what reward have you?” –Matthew 5:44, 46a (NKJV). (Modified with [“*”].)
Jesus and Paul arrive at the same point. True love is beyond reproach, it’s especially seen when it’s pressed i.e. to love those who persecute us is the final frontier.
When the chips are down, and when we’re challenged and tested--as a good friend recently reminded me--we are to love especially well. This is because we can and therefore we must; we have nothing less than the Spirit of God, the manifest Presence, guiding and empowering us (see Hebrews 13:5 Amplified version).
Life for those truly ‘in the Spirit’ is a rich, open, and expansive experience where love wells up like a watery spring, brimming and overflowing our behavioural cups.
Love has a ‘lightness’ about it and is never burdensome. When we experience that heaviness and weight of guilt, when pressed and challenged, there’s no love there.
It’s easy to love when things are normal and routine. The time to really put our ‘love shoes’ on, however, is when things get tough and challenging. It’s these times we need to remember to thank God for his grace that gets us through these tougher times.
We can rise up and lift, because God is for us--no one could be truly against us.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
 A reading of Romans 8 is apt at this point.