"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 3:11
Childish is defined as a characteristic of children especially as it regards to behaivor or judgement. Childlike is defined as an offspring.
Now to be childish is to act like a child, to understand as a child. We all go through this phase where we are learning and acquiring all of the information we need to grow. I like to think of it as our developmental stage. Where the problem comes in a lot of the time is that we stay in the childish phase too long...sometimes people never move beyond this phase. In Hebrews 5:12-14, "For when for the time we ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." In these verses immaturity is the focus. We have to get beyond the milk and move to the strong meat. We cannot be students forever, but we must move into the role as teacher when we can discern good from evil.
To be childlike is to totally rely and trust on another. If you think about it, children are very trusting and often taken advantage of because they are so pure. You can pretty much tell them anything and they will believe it. Our trust in God has to be that of a child. We have to be completely trusting in all things! In 1 Peter 2:2-3 it says, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thererby: If so be ye have tasted the Lord is gracious." We have to have a longing for God's word like a newborn babe for his mother's milk! One of my friends is trying to wean her son off of breast milk and it is very difficult. He has to have it and does not want to give it up! We have to have that same attitude when it comes to God's word. We cannot just merely be hearers either. We must apply his word in our daily lives, but we must do it with a humble spirit.
Being childish should be for a season but what Ephesians 4: 14-16 shows us is that we must move from one phase to the next to reach spiritual maturity, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From when the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
God's goal is that we as Christians leave our childish ways behind, and grow into spiritual maturity through the preaching and teaching of his holy word! Be blessed!