Immediate gratification is the gateway to enslavement. This desire for the immediate is based on two lies. The first is that having what I want will be satisfying and the second is nothing bad will happen if I get what I want. This is the way sin works.
If your children believe the lie that getting instant relief from their discomfort or discontent is ultimate, they have been entrapped by sin’s deceitfulness. This pattern, if not stopped, will result in a life dominated by the desire for immediate gratification. Pornography, substance abuse, abusive behavior, all have their roots in the quest for immediate gratification. The fruit of the Spirit is best grown in the soil of self-denial.
When you hear your child whine, you are hearing a child who has been deceived into thinking that his life will be better if he gets what he wants right now. If you put up with whining you are encouraging him to believe the lie of self importance.
Immediate gratification leads to a life of self-imposed tyranny. Realizing this will help you teach your children to see how sin deceives them. Sin feeds on the desire for immediate results. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to upset in an eye blink. One moment everything is fine. Then he sees his brother with a toy that he wants and he immediately is overcome with self-pity. It is not natural for him to be happy his brother has a nice toy to play with. It is natural for him to think why should my brother have a toy that I want. Another example is when your daughter says, “Mommy, I want juice.” Your response of, “Just a minute and I will get you some,” is met with a pathetic cry. She makes it seem as if she may die of thirst if you don’t get her the drink right now! This is sin at work.
Teaching your children that sin masquerades as instant gratification is an important first step to helping them see the deceitfulness of self-interest. Self-interest leads to sensuality and lust. Only the life-changing power of the gospel can turn self-interest into selfless love of others. The Christian life is modeled on the selfless love of Christ.
Immediate gratification is path of the fool. It is to be avoided at all costs. Help your children to follow the excellent path of Christ who came not to be served but to serve.