“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
It has always been intriguing to me that children of God are commanded to be like children in one way (Mark 10:13-16) but in other ways are commanded to not be like children, such as in 1 Corinthians 13:11. Is there any contradiction? No! Let’s look at some of the ways we are to be like children and not like children.
As children, we are to be humble (Matthew 18:1-5), forgiving (Ephesians 4:32), free of malice (1 Corinthians 14:20), desirous of feeding (1 Peter 2:1-3), and followers of God (Ephesians 5:1). These are good and honest attributes that, if we develop them, will build the character of Christ within us.
But there are ways that we are not to be like children. We must not be unstable (Ephesians 4:11-16), hard to please (Luke 7:31-35), immature (1 Corinthians 14:20), or do miscellaneous acts like quarreling, whining, pettiness, or pickiness. These are the attributes that, if unchecked, will cause great turmoil in the kingdom of Christ.
We must be children, not childish! Christians need to manifest the good attributes of the little ones while putting away childish actions and attitudes of the heart that destroy churches and relationships between Christians. A faithful Christian should be marked by their spiritual maturity.