Month 5:21, Week 3:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year 5935:135 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 20 August 2011
Away With Childishness
How to Be Mature and Child-like
Many who become Christian or Messianic falsely conclude from today's passage that believers are to remain childish. The result of this false thinking is that they never grow up and at some point come to a crisis of faith. A childish view of life and of the besorah (gospel) can lead to some fatal misunderstandings. Paul had to remind the Corinthians, who were one such childish congregation plagued with heresy and sin:
"Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the talmidim (disciples) saw it, they rebuked them. But Yah'shua (Jesus) called them to Him and said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Elohim (God)'. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of Elohim (God) as a little child will by no means enter it'" (Luke 18:15-17, NKJV).
There is a world of difference between the child-like credentials necessary to enter the Kingdom and childishness which is a stage in growing up. At a certain point we have to put childishness away from us and mature but at no time are we to ever let go of child-likeness.
"When I was a child (neepios - infant), I spoke as a child (barely able to articulate), I understood as a child (feeble and imperfect), I thought (reasoned) as a child (in a weak, puerile, short-sighted, inconclusive and erroneous way); but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Cor.13:11, NKJV - comments added).
So what's the difference? Joanie E. Yoder  identifies five major areas:
|Childish Emunah (Faith)
||Child-like Emunah (Faith)|
|Good believers don't have pain and disappointments
||Yahweh uses pain and disappointment to make us better believers|
|Yahweh wants to make us happy
||Yahweh wants to make us set-apart (holy)|
|Yahweh always answers prayers affirmatively
||Sometimes Yahweh answers prayers with 'No' or 'Wait'|
|Emunah (Faith) will always help us understand what Yahweh is doing
||Emunah (Faith) will help us to stand under Yahweh's sovereignty even when we don't have a clue about what He is doing|
|Good believers are always strong
||Our strength is in admitting our weakness|
The difference between childish and child-like emunah (faith) is that childish is self-centred, egotistical and demanding, expects Yahweh to shield us from all difficluties and to make life comfortable for us. In stark contrast, child-like emunah (faith) focuses on Yahweh. It trusts Him to use even difficulties for our good and His glory. Child-like emunah (faith) focuses on our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, and not on our fear.
Just before his death, the great British scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, remarked, :
Child-likeness invites us into this great ocean of chayim-(life-)discovery by trusting the One who created and inhabits it. This emunah (faith), which is active, always moves in Yahweh's divine tavnith (pattern), for there is no entrance to the cosmic ocean apart from it. Without it, we are but metaphorically playing with pebbles on the beach.
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself by now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me" (Brewster's Life of Newton, pp. 300-301. Ed. New York, 1832).
Just as there is a universe of difference between earth and heaven, and between spirituality and carnality, so there is between childishness and child-likeness. Childishness will not go away of its own, it has to be put away by an act of choice. Those who choose to remain in the state of spiritual infancy throughout their adult biological life behave like infants, waiting (usually in vain) to have their every need met, never find security, seeking it in dysfunctional ways. The gulf between childishness and child-likeness is as great as that between being unsaved and being saved - a great gulf separates them. For this reason much emunah (faith) is required to cross it, and often Yahweh will, like mother eagle, kick us noisily protesting out of the nest so that we learn to fly in Yahweh's Kingdom - see my sermon series, The Divine Eagle that goes into this subject in great depth.
The dfference between the Shavu'ot-anointing that marked the New Testament Messianic Community and the Sukkot-anointing that will mark the end-time remnant called out before Yah'shua (Jesus) returns, will be the difference between immaturity and maturity. It was this immaturity in thought, speech and understanding that rapidly led the first generation of believers into error and apostacy that has resulted in all the corruption and neo-paganism we see in the churches and messianic assemblies today.
The Body - that part which is willing to grow up and put childish things away - is coming of age. If you have a mind to so mature and enter into the cosmic substance of Yahweh's Kingdom, then get in touch with us for fellowship, learning and praise.
 Joanie E. Yoder, Childish or Childlike? in Our Daily Bread (RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan: June-August 1998, June 8)