Every pastor knows what I mean when I say a childish adult. It’s someone who tries very hard to act grown up, it’s someone who should be grown up, but they still act in very childish ways. The Bible says the purpose of the fivefold ministry is that we “be no more children” (Ephesians 4.14) and this is vital that all of us grow up.
Most people do not consider Samson ruled over Israel for over twenty years. You have to be fairly mature to do that, to rule a nation for years, you need some wisdom, some character, some backbone. Samson was lustful, foolish, saw prostitutes and so on, but at the same time he was in ministry – in the same position for twenty years – leading a nation. He was both immature and mature.
Samson was sometimes mature, and sometimes immature. Sometimes he looked mature, and other times he behaved like a total child. He caught three hundred foxes and tied their tails together. That’s pathetic in how stupid it is. There are other ways to set a field on fire, but Samson did it in the way a child would do it.
I know a lot of Christians who are childish adults. They adult in some areas, they know the Word well, but they act like babies, they tantrum when they cannot get their own way, they trip up all the time, they are still dealing with baby things. They are still self-obsessed. They still scream and shout.
Have you ever met a Christian who is a perpetual wanderer? They wander from one church to another, when they are in your church they might turn up and might not, they never turn up on time, they never settle, they never contribute, they never get involved. Sunday morning they are in your church, next Sunday they are in another church. You can never build with them, they never make a difference in the kingdom, church is for them and they are consumers and if it fails to please them they take a few weeks off. They are unsteady, unstable babies. But they can quote Scriptures and so on like an adult. These people are confusing because you expect better from them.
I recently heard a sermon by a Christian evangelist, it seemed so wise, so thoughtful, so mature. Then I realized who was preaching it – it was someone who used to be in Tree of Life. It was someone very unstable, very immature, he has been to about four different churches since he left the Tree. He preached a great message, but is a child unable to belong to a church. There are modern day Samsons in the world, don’t be one!
There are people who are at Bible College who get hurt so easily it shocks me. One of the signs of maturity is you do not go into a room to get attention, but to pay attention. But childish adults cannot do this.
We need to be adults across the board, in all our relationships. It takes being an adult to settle down and become a one-woman man, there are many very lovely ladies out there, but a mature man picks one and commits and walks in love and peace. It’s the better way to live. That’s why deep down people respect married men. A child cannot settle down, a man who cannot settle down is not a man, he is a childish adult! He is a boy!
Why not take the time to work on the areas in which you are most childish! Sometimes if we are honest it is obvious we are childish in certain areas – we name call, we blame, we tell petty lies, we need to be the centre of attention, we bully others. All behaviours that should have ended when we left primary school. Children cry and get mad and pout – adults should not. Children blame others when things go wrong – adults solve the problem. Children lie to get out of trouble, adults face the truth and are reliable. Children call names, adults seek to understand. Children eat all the sweets, adults exercise impulse control. Children interrupt, adults listen to the end. Children need attention, adults give attention. Children ignore their mistakes, adults fix them.
It’s great when a child acts like a child, but when we mature, we should all leave childish behaviour behind. Let’s not be modern day Samsons, let’s press on into maturity. Learn adult skills! Feast on the Word and believe it and live it.
Next week we will talk about people who have two faces and therefore two tongues. I can’t wait!