Like most people, I like it when things in my life are consistent and obvious, so that good things can be embraced and bad things avoided. But like most people, discernment in my life is rarely that simple.
I’d enjoy Scripture that was easier to interpret, when Jesus didn’t talk in parables or verses didn’t seem to conflict. The more I listen and learn, I see that sometimes things that appear to be the opposite really aren’t.
In Luke 18:15-17 we read: “People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
But in 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul writes: “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.”
How can we reconcile these two seemingly opposite statements? As a Christian, is it better to be like a little child or reason like a man?
Jesus’ comments to the disciples show us that children are enchanted with the world and are willing to learn. The child perceives not because he is told or reasons, but because he knows that Jesus is the Messiah and Rabbi.
Paul warns us of a different world that we live in where evil lurks. As an adult we can’t be trusting of everyone but instead we need to be wary of false prophets and “guard our hearts”.
I pray that as we grow in our faith we will retain the child-like wonder where we perceive the mysterious world of God’s kingdom and feel the closeness of Jesus, but in dealing with the world we are wise enough to avoid evil and not follow false teachings or idols.