Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Growing Up

I Corinthians 13:8-13

Have you ever seen a child of 5 or 6 walking around with a baby bottle in their mouth? Occasionally I have, and it is a little disconcerting. A child that age ought to have been weaned, eating and drinking adult food. In our area are a few parents who will not take the bottle away from their children. The children are usually quite spoiled and self centered, and tend to be fat. Doctors tell us that they tend to have health problems as a result of not eating properly.

Using the bottle encourages them not to eat properly, and to continue to act as babies. They substitute milk or juice for food requiring chewing, resulting in weakened jaw muscles and poor tooth development. Because they do not get a full spectrum of proper nutrients, their physical development is somewhat distorted, and muscles are weak. Disuse tends to make the digestive system sluggish as well. Only when the bottle is put away will proper development occur. Once the bottle is not needed, it becomes a hindrance rather than a help.

Before the Word of God was complete there was a need for prophets to get their messages directly from God and share it with the people. Before the teachings were written down there was a need for a miraculous form of knowledge. Before there were Christians of various cultures, a miraculous gift of tongues was needed to share the gospel with those of another language. Paul is very specific that when the need is gone, so will each of these gifts. He specifically names prophecy, tongues, and knowledge.

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 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. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Corinthians 13:8-13)

The need for all 3 has been greatly reduced, and we should not be surprised that we see few examples in our day. There will never be a time when love is not needed, however, and there will never be a time when love ends. Faith, hope and love will all continue when all the spiritual gifts have been eliminated. They are far more important than the spiritual gifts, and should be cultivated. All three are essential to the Christian life, with love being the most important.

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