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 childish ways behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV84)
Paul is drawing toward the close of his thoughts on love. In our verse for today, he uses the transition from childhood to adulthood as a comparison to the transition we must make in our spiritual lives. Just as an adult must put behind him the childish thinking, speaking and behavior, we, as Christians, must put behind us the thinking of the old man in us and transition to the thinking of the new man in us. It is the desire of the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and minds.
When it comes to love, we must finally put behind us the thought that love is simply an emotion that meets our needs and makes us feel good. Love is more than a feeling. It is a principle! It is a way of life! It begins with being other-oriented rather than self-absorbed. Children believe that the world revolves around them and that that’s the way it ought to be. We understand that there is so much more to love. As Christians, we know that it all begins with God Himself. It is first about God’s love for us and ours for Him. Secondly, it is about our love for others, not their love for us. For mature Christians love looks exactly as Jesus described it when speaking of the greatest commandment, saying “…to love God with your entire mind, heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
May we put aside our childish notions about love and life and claim for ourselves God’s true perspective of each.