When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a child, When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see through a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13: 11, 12

 

Among the things that frustrate me the most about living with myself is my childishness. This is made up of those episodes of selfishness and unreasonable anxiety where I look after my own wants and wishes regardless of what impact those actions may have on others. Also troubling is my capacity to become irritated, angry, and to take offense at what others have said, done, or even what they have not done. The uprising of this emotion can rapidly and suddenly convert this person who has traveled through many decades into the appearance of a tantruming toddler. Yet, as difficult as any of these moments can be today, these negative emotions and their fallout are far less severe and considerably less frequent than they once were. I have matured, and that process of maturation does make a difference in the way that I consider others and respond to life.

 

The same sort of thing is true for my relationship with Christ and for the impact that Christ has upon the way that I conduct my life. Over time and through the process of the Spirit’s engagement with me, my responses to my world have changed. There is more room for care and understanding in my heart, and my need to be right has been pushed aside by the reality of how wrong I often actually am. There is a presence of grace that allows me to tender mercy more quickly and in ways that are more meaningful to others and are often more challenging for me. Throughout the years that I have journeyed with Christ, He has continually directed my mind and my heart toward and into the truth of His word. He has also engaged in a transformative work within me that has reordered the core of my being into one that is ever more aligned with God’s desire for reconciliation with His creation.

 

This is not to say that I am now fully formed and so spiritually and emotionally mature, for all that I need to do for reality to set in is reflect back to the first words that I stated above about my childishness. Now, I am just a child with wrinkles; yet, that child is wiser and more knowledgeable than he was in the past. Christ has stuck it out with me through many misadventures and wrong turns in life, and He continues to work on me as He goes with me through each of my days. As I turn away from the easy comforts of old habits and trust in His great gifts of understanding and wisdom, the Spirit pours the living truth of the gospel of Christ into my mind and works on my heart so that those same truths become the ever-clearer lens through which I view the world. This is the wonder of growing old with Christ, for the image that He shows me of myself is continually more and more that of Himself, and in His face I see the glory of eternity.

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