Often, we fail to see the dangers of not doing something until we travel down the road of being childish and then we regret the time we have wasted. Paul is even more specific than that about what happens when we fail to mature in Christ and godly character.
“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14).
The idea that Paul is referring to when he used the term “children” is someone who is “small or a helpless infant” who is unable to defend themselves or make decisions on their own. To be “tossed to and fro by the waves” means that the person is helpless to defend themselves against forces that will carry them in the wrong direction. We have lost many on our coast because people swim into “rip tides” that are too strong for them. This helps explain why some people make wrong decisions or choices that cause us sorrow. They have not matured to the point that they can stand firm in the truth (1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:11, 14; Philippians 4:1).
Believers who are childish and immature are much more susceptible to false doctrine that is often presented through “human trickery, cleverness and craft.” False teachers and those who intentionally oppose the work of God devise schemes with the intent to mislead hearers. This seems like a harsh way of speaking to those in the body of Christ, but it is necessary. If we love (and I do) each person in the Church, it is my responsibility to warn them, promote spiritual growth and maturity. This one principle is what prevents damage through immaturity.
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