"When I was a child I spoke as a child, I acted as a child...but now that I am grown I have set aside childish ways."
- 1 Corinthians 13:11
God calls us to a life mature faith reflected in ever more compassionate, respectful, honest, and generous ways of interacting with others.
We have all known adults who did not act in mature ways, who in fact were acting in a petty or juvenile manner. You know, the person who is passive/aggressive when they don't get their way. The person who sabotages someone at work to keep their power intact. The person who takes their own anxiety or frustrations out on another person instead of doing the hard work of self-inventory and acknowledgement of their inner turmoil. The person who yells all the time instead of learning to interact with more helpful techniques.
If we're really honest, we have sometimes been those people, right?
Kermit the frog claimed it wasn't easy being green, but I wonder if it is easy to be anything other than mean. Unless we have God's help.
That's what the Apostle Paul wanted the Corinthians to know. That they had God's help, even as we do, on this road to maturity in faith. Without God we are clanging bells in our families and homes and workplaces. With God in Christ we are made a new creation; daily, even hourly, even moment to moment renewed by Christ to grow beyond what was possible before. Without the cross I am but noise. Through the cross and Jesus' blood my noise may be transformed into part of a symphony more pleasing to God.
Neurologists say we have 3-5 seconds when faced with adversity to decide to stay in our frontal lobe, the thinking portion of the brain. The alternative is to let our reptilian, or "fight or flight" rear portion of the brain that does not think take control. The good news for us as Christians is that God has super fast reflexes. God is at the buzzer and on our side before we even know we need help. And by the cross and blood of Christ there is hope for us to become more than unthinking reptilians. There is hope that we can set aside childish ways and with God's help mature. Such maturity in faith and life sets the stage for God to be more fully able to work through us blessings for the world; blessings for our families; for our churches, for our community. Broken vessels though we will always be, God will always be working a new creation, seeking to turn our sour water into new wine for the world.