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. (1 Corinthians 13:11)
What Paul proves here is that maturity is not only a matter of development. It is also a matter of decision. He admits that when he was a child, he spoke as a child, he understood as a child and he thought as a child. But, when he became a man, he put away childish things. These childish things did not fall off of him. They did not mysteriously or miraculously disappear from him. He had to make a conscious decision and take an affirmative action to put them away. You don’t automatically grow out of pettiness and pickiness, tantrums and tirades, selfishness and carelessness. The only way to get away from these is to step away from them.
Paul is quite clear that even though he was a man, his childish things had not completely vanished. They were still there. They were just “put away.” That’s why we have to keep guard all day every day because if we are not careful, given the right trigger, like that Jack in the box, childish things can suddenly pop out!