How many time have you heard, “I want it now!” or similar language from children and adults? Whether the words come from an arrogant politician or an unhappy three-year-old they betray a craving for instant gratification. This craving is destructive. This intense self-focus will result in a life dominated by the desire for personal pleasure. Immediate gratification is the gateway to a life of destructive, abusive relationships, pornography, substance abuse, and abusive behavior.
If you hear a child frequently complain or grumble, you are hearing a child who is becoming a slave to his own desires. Sin feeds on the desire for immediate pleasure. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. This is why an adult can seem reasonable one minute and then turn to fierce anger and resentment the next. One moment everything is fine and then there is an eruption of anger and angst. Why? Because both the child and adult believe they are not getting what they want, what they think they deserve, now!
Complaining and grumbling are not compatible with a life of praise. The Bible teaches that God is a faithful God who does no wrong, who is always to be praised. (Deuteronomy 32:3-5; Philippians 2:14-15) If God is always faithful, there is no room for grumbling and complaining. Complaining is the opposite of praise. Praise is being aware of and motivated by God’s constant goodness and grace.
Therefore, simply telling a child to stop complaining will not stop the advance of this corrosive sin. Complaining must be replaced with praise and gratitude to God. Only then will true change begin to occur. This is equally true for children and for adults. This is why praise is a constant theme throughout the Psalms and the epistles. We are commanded to praise because if we do not we revert to our natural, fleshly desires; complaining, grumbling and destroying one another.
Just as you teach your child not to yell, or to come quickly, or to not steal, or to be quiet, or not to lie, you must also teach them to praise. None of these actions are natural for your children. They all require the life-changing power of Christ. This is why Paul says to raise your children in fear and admonition of the Lord.
Praise is the attitude that must replace complaining. Ask God to work that first in you and then in your children.
“I want it now!” is about pleasing self.
Praising God is about dying to self.