Power Move

We are in a season of “No” in the Condos household. Milo has progressed into his age of independence. He constantly asks for space from me and his mother, exclaiming, “Milo, do it” whenever he has the opportunity. He wants to do everything, and I mean everything, on his own. He wants to keep up with his older brothers and do everything they do. However, his independence has presented him with this unprecedented power, the power to control his realm of influence and his autonomy. He does not control much, but where he can exercise his influence, he asserts that power.
The way that he separates himself from his parental obligations is through a small yet formidable word. It is the word “No.” He claims his self-sufficiency and separation from Mom and Dad through this tiny word. Simultaneously, he does not have the understanding or reasoning to make his own decisions. This brings us to a conflict about the most common practices. Whether putting on shoes, going to the bathroom, or eating dinner, each request is met with a proud and defiant “No.” In actuality, what my two-year-old is saying is, “I’m Powerful,” and let me assert my superiority.
Managing this growth becomes a delicate balancing act for parents. You can’t strip your child of choices, even choices of their bodies, but you also can let them leave the house with a full bladder. Two-year-olds don’t grasp consequences and can’t know that what you are asking will benefit them in the future. In other words, he is thinking like a child. Therefore, when I ask Milo to accomplish something, and he refuses, I remind myself that he is only two and can make those decisions. One day, he will be able to, but not yet.
Three times in his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul informs his readers that they are thinking like children.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 – “And I, brothers and sisters, could not speak to you as spiritual people, but only as fleshly, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to consume it. But even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like ordinary people?”
1 Corinthians 13:11- “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
1 Corinthians 14:20 – “Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.”
If you look through each of these passages, Paul directly addresses carnal behaviors, creating divisions of Christ via Paul, Peter, and Apollos or even desiring external spiritual giftings. Paul says each of these things is asserting your position over others; it is a power move and childish. Can you imagine the conversations in the first century? You know I was baptized by Peter. Apollos is a more commanding speaker than Paul. Yet, Paul is the most reformed, so his way is best. Paul says this is the way children discuss things.
Like Milo, we must admit we don’t always know what is best. We might think our way is better, so we shout “I’m Powerful” to everyone we meet. Yet, we are not ordinary people; we are not infants who sink to fleshly or worldly measurements; we attain to spiritual matters. Paul’s underlying tone in these passages is for his audience to grow up. He then informs us how to grow up and shows us the better way.
1 Corinthians 3:21-23 – “So then, no one is to be boasting in people. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [Peter], or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”
1 Corinthians 13:12-13 – “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 14:26 – “What is the outcome then, brothers and sisters? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. All things are to be done for edification.”
We often look for something that makes us more powerful and try to be victorious on our own accord and capacity—looking for our markers of superiority and righteousness. These only create division and are childish. Instead, we should work together for the edification and building up of each other through faith, hope, and love because we belong to Christ and God. It is by laying down our interests that is the real power move.