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Putting Away Childish Things

By Kyle Pope

Before my wife and I moved to Amarillo, we had to get rid of some of the things that accumulated over the years.  Among the many items that triggered fond memories was a toy oven I put together for my daughter when she was a toddler.  It was made from an old shoebox covered with paper.  I cut a door in it with a window that was made from a plastic transparency.  On the top were four “burners” made from aluminum foil with a black spiral drawn on them like the coil of a real burner.  I remember sitting down with that sweet little girl and “playing house” for hours.  That same little girl is now grown, engaged, and making plans to have a home of her own very soon.

It was sad to get rid of that little shoebox oven.  But the paper was torn, the cardboard frayed and there wasn’t room on the truck for every item that revived fond memories.  Besides, my daughter is now grown.  She has matured to use “grown up” things.  No matter how I wish I could turn back time, it would be foolish if I had insisted that this mature young woman continue to play with childish things.

In many ways our life is the same type of struggle.  For a few years we are given time on earth.  We are given bodies that are not intended to be permanent (James 4:13-14).  No matter how much we take care of them or protect them they wear out and one day we must “put them away.” Christians, having obeyed the gospel, have the hope that one day they will receive a new and glorious spiritual body (I Corinthians 15:42-44).  That new body will not grow old, face death or pain and it will be permanent (Revelation 21:3-5).  Yet, often when confronted with aging, poor health, or the decay of the body Christians fight it, and even feel as if God has abandoned them.  Although what lies ahead is far better and more enduring, Christians allow themselves to cling to the things that are temporary and fleeting in nature. 

Is this any different than if a grown woman insisted on playing with her toy shoebox oven rather than making a real home using real things?  Obviously, a cardboard oven is different than our own flesh and blood.  We are attached to our bodies and know of no other home for our spirits than our bodies of flesh.  Even so, I fear that much of what we as humans do is little more than clinging to our “childish things.”  We live as if we are going to be here forever.  Then when something makes us realize we won’t, we either try to ignore it or fight it.  The non-Christian, may deceive himself into thinking that he doesn’t need to plan for eternity.  And so, he lives in such a way that will insure that the pains of this life will be magnified in the life which is to come (Romans 2:5-11).

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he spoke about the temporary nature of miraculous spiritual gifts in contrast to the complete revelation of Scripture.  He declared, “when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11).  In our view of life, we need to “put away childish things.”  The one who believes in Jesus, has confessed Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), has turned from sin, and been baptized into Christ for forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38), can hope one day to be “clothed” with a new permanent body (II Corinthians 5:1-4).  When such a one faces decay of the flesh it is not a loss.  It is a reminder that salvation lies nearer and nearer everyday (Romans 13:11).  Yes, it is sad to put away childish things which bring us temporary joy, but Christians must cling to the mature hope of those things which will bring eternal joy.

  Pope, Kyle. "Putting Away Childish Things" Biblical Insights 8.11 (November 2008): 20  
  Pope, Kyle. "Putting Away Childish Things" Amarillo Uptown 2.3 (March 2008): 56  

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