One of the hardest realities for me to accept about myself is the fact that I still have childish responses to life situations. There are times when I am fearful, angry and defensive, especially in relation to my wife. It is very humbling, indeed. It is in those situation that I realize that I still have some growing up to do. In I Cor 13, Paul talks about putting away childish things. “But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (I Cor 13:11). When I pay attention and am honest about some of my responses, I realize that there are still childish impulses that I have not given to the Lord.
My immature responses give evidence that I am still under the law. I am living by “oughts” rather then by the freedom of grace and acceptance. I still need to be tutored in my immaturity. “Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for” (Gal 3:23-4 – The Message). Thank God for guidance in my immaturity. So how do I grow out of some of these immature responses
For me it has involved the need to be honest. As a grown man, who has been a pastor, it is hard to admit childish attitudes and responses. But I will never grow out of these responses, if I am not honest about my immaturity. Along with honestly, there has been a need for me to process those immature movements in my soul. They can usually be traced back to places in my souls that have not been healed nor affirmed by the love of God and the presence of his healing light. What that means is that I have to come out of hiding, caused by my fear and shame. It really helps if there is a loving brother or sister to pray with me, as I expose those dark places in my soul.
How will I know that I have grown up regarding a certain attitude and response to life. For me it means not reacting in the same immature way, and having the freedom to respond with love and acceptance, even though I might feel threatened or misunderstood. This freedom has brought more realism to my life. In other words, what you see is what you get. But remember men, this process takes time. I still fall into immature, childish patterns. But by the grace of God I keep making progress, as I come out from the guidance of the law and find freedom in the grace and acceptance of God