What do you want is a question Jesus asked many as he traveled around the nation of Israel. He didn’t ask them what they thought or how they felt, but he wanted to know what was on their heart. Jesus is still the same today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow. He wants to know what is on the heart of our children and your heart as well. This is a question we need to ask our children and listen to their responses. Often we will hear I want the newest game or a new toy. But, what is Jesus listening for? He is listening to hear the desires of the heart of the child.
Our society has gravitated to materialism, and it is reflected in how our children are responding. Their answers reveal that their hearts are yielding to the desires of the flesh, which are idols of the world. Paul listed those in Galatians 5, beginning what will satisfy momentarily and what will draw us with the eye. These lead to a mindset of instant gratification. Paul lists included the works of the world which Satan controls. He seeks to satiate our minds with these things just as he did with Eve in the Garden. All of these satisfy but for the moment.
Instead, Jesus wants our children to desire Him and His many wonderful gifts of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Each of these gifts will mature them in attitude and actions. Together they will lead them on the path to maturity.
How can we turn our children’s hearts to what is lasting? We do it through telling stories, living our lives before them, and using the divine appointments that God places in our path. Through these, we build character and integrity into their minds for the future as well as now.