Monday, September 3, 2012

Childish Reactions by Martin Wiles

“I used to go to that church, but the last preacher they had. . . .” “Mr. ________ used to come regularly, but he and Mrs. _______ couldn’t see eye to eye on _________, so he . . . .”

Sometimes we act our biological age; sometimes we don’t. Two-year-olds act like two-year-olds. Temper tantrums, selfishness, testing authority. It goes with the territory. But when fifteen-year-olds behave identically, something’s amiss.

The same holds true with our spiritual reactions. We tend to act out where we are spiritually. Paul takes a physical fact and alludes to a spiritual principle; 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 (I Corinthians 13:11).

I recently bumped into an old friend whose conversation revealed he had conquered Paul’s challenge. His church recently built a 1.6 million dollar sanctuary and had to borrow half that amount to pay for it. “I opposed it,” he said but hastily added he continued to support the church because the majority voted to build. A mature reaction from a biologically mature person who also happened to be spiritually mature.

Reactions say a great deal about our spiritual spot. Childish reactions are understandable if we’re new Christians but not if we’re long time believers. Regularly reading, meditating on and incorporating Biblical principles into our minds will help transform immature spiritual reactions into spiritual actions. Kindness instead of revenge. Unselfishness rather than stinginess. Love instead of hate. Trust in God rather than bitterness toward him. Well, you get the picture. Ask God to grow you up in the faith so your reactions will accurately reflect your identity.

Prayer: God in heaven, help our reactions to situations and people be spiritual instead of childish.