1 Corinthians 13-16

Childish Thinking

In verse 11, of Chapter 13, Paul said when he was a child he thought as a child, but when he became an adult he put off his childhood thinking and started thinking as an adult. Every once in a while we will observe someone do something that comes out really bad or harmful and we will wonder what it was that they were thinking. They may well have been an adult that was thinking as a child.

Childish thinking is usually rooted in unrestrained emotions and self-focus. When we bring that kind of thinking into adulthood, problems result, especially in how we relate to others and solve problems.  We have a great grandson who has developed a strategy of saying his tummy hurts when he doesn’t want to eat what has been put on his plate. To him that seems to work for now, but he may find he has to change that thinking as he grows older.

Paul is trying to get the Corinthian church to change their thinking from being served to becoming servants. In Romans 12:1&2 Paul writes, “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, Acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” NASB

Paul is using the example of childish thinking versus adult thinking to illustrate the difference between worldly thinking and Christ-like thinking. When we set our thinking on how to serve our Lord the natural outcome will be sacrificial worship of God no matter where we are in our day to day life. This is not a Sunday only, sitting in church, kind of worship, but a 24/7 worship. Not only that, but it is a worship that actually makes a difference in the lives of the people we interact with and glorifies God. 

We used to raise cattle on the land we now grow produce on. Every once in a while a cow would break through the fence and end up in the neighbor’s pasture. I found that if a cow could get their head through a hole in the fence their body was soon to follow. The same is true for our thinking. Whatever we have set our mind on will be expressed in our words and actions.  It is important that we keep our mind set on the Lord if we are to truly worship him.

This is the message Paul has been communicating to the church in Corinth. They had gotten side tracked and instead of serving the Lord they were serving themselves. In their “childish” thinking they thought they needed more gifts and power from God. The reality was that God had given them all they needed but the power was lacking because love was misapplied. The problem was that they were focused on serving themselves rather than God, so Paul has been working on changing their focus from the world to God. They loved themselves more than loving God and their neighbors. Matthew 22:34-40

As Paul attempts to refocus them he closed this letter with a chapter on the resurrection of our Lord and on serving others.

As the Church we need to learn from this letter. Jesus calls His followers to deny the tendency to think only of themselves and follow where He leads. In this way we take up our cross by sacrificing our will for his will. If we are unwilling to do this we will find our Christian walk frustrating and ineffective. If we are not careful the Church will become more like a social club than God’s tool to bless the world. Without the life blood of Jesus the Church will eventually go on life support and close.

As Christians we are called and equipped to do God’s will. Let’s make sure we keep our focus on the Lord whom we serve. Along with the verses mentioned in this study, here are a few more to help us keep the main thing the main thing.

Psalm 123; Romans 13:8-14; Colossians 3:1-17

Keep your mind on the Lord.

Pastor Dave