“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
Does that mean I have to stop playing with LEGOs?
I mean that would really put a damper on things, because I recently bought three LEGO Death Star kits. I know. You’re thinking to yourself, right now, what could he possibly do with three of the same LEGO kit? Well, there was a really good deal. I reasoned with myself, as a man, that if I bought three, I could sell two and pay for the third. It’s the kind of conclusion that only an adult could come to.
A child doesn’t need that kind of reasoning. All they need is an invitation, like Ned says in Spider-Man: Homecoming, “Join me, and together we’ll build my new LEGO Death Star.” Who could say “no” to building 3803 pieces of pure LEGO. Not me. Not ANYONE… (except Peter Parker, who was too busy doing Spider-Man things to help out his friend.)
What kind of reasoning do we need to follow Jesus? Will we ever give up on our childish ways? Will we ever be able to put them behind us? Should we?
I mean, Jesus tells us, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Later, Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” So, which is it? Do I need to put these childish ways behind me, or do I need to embrace being childlike? Is there is difference?
First, I need to recognize that there is nothing I can do to save myself. In that sense, I’m a child, fully dependent on my gracious Heavenly Father and the work of Jesus Christ, the Son whom the Father sent to save me. I depend on the Holy Spirit to deliver this life-saving faith to me. I cannot do anything on my own to save myself. Children understand this. They may not be able to articulate all of the intricacies, but they’ll tell you that mom and dad give them everything they need. Can we admit the same thing of God? There’s nothing we need, that He doesn’t provide.
So, why’s Paul telling us we’ve gotta grow up? It’s easier over here as a child with LEGOs. I think part of the answer relates to the next words he writes, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” As a child, what we know is so incomplete. Certainly, we’re able to receive God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, but are we able to understand it completely? I don’t think so. I cannot begin to understand or comprehend the depth of love that God has for me or the sacrifice He made for me in order to save me. I see it more clearly that my growth as a Christian is seeing just how evil I am and how gracious God is. Paul’s old enough to admit he’s the chief of sinners. But that’s why Jesus came, to save sinners! So, Paul is inviting you and me to recognize, as grown-up adults, that we are sinners in need of Jesus’ grace.
Paul extends an everyday invitation to see ourselves for who we are, and to see Jesus for the savior He is.
You don’t need to grow up to be saved.
Here ends the devotion, but buckle up for a really fun Matt tangent…
A couple of points for clarification: There are multiple LEGO Death Star kits. The Original was released in 2006 and was a 3,449-piece kit. There was a mini-kit released in 2012 with a scant 65 pieces, and the Death Star itself was merely two pieces. The kit Ned references was released in 2008, and has since been discontinued, so I’m super impressed he was able to get his hands on one. It would later be destroyed when Ned learns Peter Parker, his best-friend-forever, is Spider-Man. RIP, LEGO Death Star. Meantime, I’m rocking three separate boxes of the kit released just a couple of years ago, comprised of 4,016 pieces. Yes. That means I have more than 12,000 LEGO pieces sitting in my living room. Don’t judge me.
While I have a gross amount of legos at my house, I tend toward being too grown up at times. What would happen if I loved brave enough to let myself play with Legos and watch Spiderman while throwing popcorn in the air? I don’t need to do these things, but I do think a childlike spirit where it really matters could give us a whole new perspective in life…one that is able to rejoice in our need for Jesus rather than just tolerate our need for Him. There is a whole lot of grace in being a man child.