When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. - 1 Corinthians 13:11 HCSB

Unfortunately, American “Christianity” is often characterized by childish immaturity and shallowness. As with all spiritual conundrums, the problem lies in our approach to “d’vekut,” which is our relationship with God.

We often hear people express their desire to be “carried in the arms of God” or to “sit in His lap.” While I understand the idea of our need to seek Hashem’s support and strength, my concern is the selfishness expressed.

Children are intrinsically narcissistic. It’s normal for a tiny baby to want, or even need, to be carried in its father’s arms. However, at some point that child will hopefully grow up and start walking on its own. It will still need its parent but not in that same immature fashion. It must grow up in order to be able to experience a better and less selfish relationship.

Paul urged his spiritual son Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”[1] He constantly urged the Corinthians to grow up and quit being childish saying, “Brothers, don't be childish in your thinking, but be infants in evil and adult in your thinking.”[2]

Only the mature can receive a message of wisdom - not the wisdom of this age, nor of the supposed philosophers and wise men of this world who are coming to nothing – but of God’s hidden and mysterious wisdom.[3] This is why Hashem gave us an entire book dedicated to the pursuit of intellectual and spiritual maturity called “Proverbs.”

This spiritual wisdom is simply only available to spiritually mature people. Those who remain close to the roots of their natural man cannot welcome what comes from God’s Spirit because it is foolishness to them and seems so because it can only be evaluated spiritually.[4]

A spiritually mature person, on the other hand IS capable of evaluating everything while remaining a cipher to those less mature because he has been with the Lord and, like Moses,[5] has been transformed by that holy experience.

It’s a small wonder that the Lord’s half-brother considered trials a great joy and urged the pursuit of intellectual, emotional and spiritual maturity.[6] That maturity grants us a better relationship with our Father. Imagine how you’d feel if your children never grew up and only wanted to be carried!

I, too, need to be hugged by my Father once in a while. However, most of the time I want to walk beside Him pulling on the yoke[7] as a co-laborer. As a good child aids its parent in the daily tasks, I urge that we set aside our selfish urges and take on the tasks our Father has at heart[8] so that we can hear “Well done, good and faithful slave!...Share your master's joy!'”[9]

We were not called to be carried but to labor.

[1] 2 Timothy 2:1

[2] 1 Corinthians 14:20 cp 3:1-3

[3] 1 Corinthians 2:6-7

[4] 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 cp Hebrews 5:12-13

[5] Exodus 34:29-35

[6] James 1:2-5 cp Lamentations 3:27

[7] Matthew 11:29-30

[8] Matthew 9:37-38

[9] Matthew 25:21