Paul says here in verse 11,
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
From the context of this passage, Paul seems to be comparing what life will be like in heaven with what it is like here on earth. The picture seems to be that when we are in heaven, we will be mature, while here on earth, we are in many ways immature. And because of our immaturity, we still need many crutches in life.
We need prophesy to help us hear the word of God more clearly. We need tongues to pray when we don’t even know how to pray, or to communicate the gospel with others when we don’t know their language. We, to a large degree, are dependent on knowledge developed by finite minds to try to understand who God is.
But in heaven, all these crutches will be unnecessary, as we see God face to face.
That seems to be the main gist of what Paul is saying here.
But as I think about it, I wonder if Paul wasn’t also giving the Corinthians a challenge to mature while they were still here on earth.
Certainly, he had already blasted them for their immaturity earlier in the letter (chapter 3, verses 1-4). And so perhaps he was telling the Corinthians, “It’s time to grow up. When you were a baby Christian, you still thought much as the world did. But it’s time to become men and women of God. To put aside your petty squabbles. To put aside your pride because of what gifts you have or how “blessed” you are. And to become mature in your thoughts and actions.”
How about you? Are you still thinking like a child? Talking like a child? Acting like a child? Or are you becoming mature in your faith?
Let us not be satisfied with remaining baby Christians throughout our entire lives. Instead let us grow up into maturity.
To be sure, no matter how far we advance here on earth, there will still be a major jump between our spiritual condition here and what it will be in heaven. But let us not make that an excuse to remain spiritual babies.
Instead, each day let us make it our goal to press on to maturity, growing each day in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 6:1; II Peter 3:18)