1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Week 2 of Love’s Quiet Storm series. We’re looking back at the infamous Love chapter that Paul so eloquently shared with the church. Today our focus is vs 11; we’re going from Boys to Men. We’ll do so by utilizing a few slow jams that will hopefully help us relate to the lessons Paul taught at the end of 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
In 1983, I was 10 years old when the group New Edition released the album Candy Girl and became maybe my favorite all time group. This teen group would come to truly understand this 11th verse better than most; being that they grew up before the world under the microscope of fame. Their song Boys to Men highlights this growth in their lyrics; such as “Growing up can be a pain, You’re not an man until you come of age…..Who assumes responsibility, Of having to support our families…Who’s protecting us from harm, Is there anyone around That we can trust”
I think that we would all agree that growing up was painful; our responsibilities have increased and if we’re honest we find it difficult to trust most people. So, what does this group, this song and these lyrics have to do with 1 Corinthians 13:11? Let’s see:
- Acknowledge Your Childhood: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. I’m in my mid 40’s and I realize today, but it took me decades to understand. Even though I’m a 40 something year old man, I’m also still that 5-year-old boy who was forced by my teenage neighbor to do things I felt were wrong; but she told me were OK and that I owed it to her. Yes, trauma as a child that still impacts the man today (Growing up can be a pain). Why is it important to acknowledge? Because, we as men have been told since childhood that we are not to feel anything. If we get too emotional, we’re called “punk.” We were never allowed to cry and forget about telling anyone how we really felt. This inability to emote manifest in what we see in most men today; Anger, Frustration, and Emotionally disconnected men that walk thru their many struggles alone because they just don’t know how to effectively articulate what their hearts are feeling. These unaddressed pains become seen in sexual, drug and even eating abuse or addictions. The pain does not just stay with the man, but our wives suffer, our daughters suffer, our sons not only suffer but they also duplicate what they see. Recreating the same frustrations, hurts and pains that the men in a family have passed down for generations.
So, it is incredibly important that now as a R.E.A.L. (Righteous, Equipped & Anointed Leaders) Man, we can connect emotionally with our wives and our kids. We must be able to function in work and school without blowing up in anger when enduring hurt or failure. We can only do that by Acknowledging what happened When I was a child. We start by going back and dealing with what happened to us. Even if it seems too difficult to deal with now. This means talking to someone; a Spouse, Trusted friend, Counselor (recommended), Small Group, prayer partner (Is there anyone around That we can trust). It doesn’t matter who you start with, but that you start. Because, when we do not, we become grown men that still sound like hurt little boys: I spoke as a child, I understood as a child. We remain unable to respond to adult situations as a Grown Man, because our default remains childlike thinking; I thought as a child. Acknowledge the Child in the man.
- Accept Your Calling: but when I became a man. Now that we’ve acknowledged the hurt little boy in us all, it’s time to do what we’ve gotta do (those NE fans know what I just did there); Accept the Call…of Manhood. That calling requires several things; Men are to be Watchmen (caretakers of) in the community (Jeremiah 6:17 Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!); Husbands that treat their wives like Jesus (Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her) and Fathers that train their children to be arrows (Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it); “Who assumes responsibility, Of having to support our families.”
God has called men to become the Priest, Provider and Protector of our families. The difficulty most men run into is that one of these roles requires a level of emotional connectivity that most men fail to attain. A Priest must be able to relate, empathize and connect with people spiritually, but emotionally as well. Most men are pretty good providing and protecting, because it can be done without using our emotions. Yet when we truly become the Priest, we learn that when we are truly able to connect with our emotions, we can excel in providing and protecting our families, because we do not just cover them with things, we cover them with us (Who’s protecting us from harm). Accept the calling of manhood; it is a HEAVY, HEAVY calling, but a worthwhile calling when done well. The beauty of this calling is that is can be mastered in Love’s Quiet Storm. When this call is covered in God’s Love, it comes with God’s power and direction. He will teach us how to be the Men we are called to be. Lean on Jesus for help and He will help us.
- Address Your Childish Ways: I put away childish things. We’ve acknowledged the hurts and pains that have lasted since childhood; we’ve accepted the roles of manhood; now what?? It’s time to put away the juvenile mindsets, actions and ways that have kept us bound. Put away; Get rid of; Throw out; Cut off all the things that keep us from being all that God has created us for.
David told his son Solomon, with regard to manhood to Prove it!! 1 Kings 2:1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. Paul taught the early church to get off the Similac; Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Get in the Word of God!! David’s dying words to his son was to follow God, walk in His ways, do what His word says. Paul said you’ve been sipping milk spiritually and cannot handle the meat of the word; but you are of age put that milk away and dig into this hearty steak of the Word. The Bible is full of guidance for being a Man. Get away from the influences in your life that want to keep doing childish things. Replace them with Men who know Christ, are not afraid to be real and can be trusted. Pray, God will bring those brothers around if you’re serious.
New Edition said (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzKGPsVU6s0) “Life’s responsibility falls in our hands; so Keep on learning, Keep on growing ‘Cause wisdom helps us understand. We’re maturing Without knowing that These are the things that change boys to men.” Now let’s reach that again with what we’ve learned: “Life’s responsibility (Accept Your Calling) falls in our hands; so, Keep on learning, Keep on growing ‘Cause wisdom helps us understand. We’re maturing (Acknowledge Your Childhood) Without knowing that These are the things (Address Your Childish Ways) that change boys to men.”
Men on this Mother’s Day; give every mother what they really wants….a R.E.A.L. (Righteous, Equipped & Anointed Leaders) Man!