Worry, Panic, Scheming

Posted on July 26, 2013 · Posted in Parenting, Ruling Desires

When you are led by fleshly desires instead of spiritual ones, peace does not follow. Your son eats some of the cookies that were just baked for dessert. His momentary enjoyment is quickly replaced by the fear out of being found out. The scheming begins.

Since he took the shortcut of instant gratification, now he must look for a scheme to avoid the consequences of acting on his desires rather than obeying Mom and loving God. So, the flesh hatches a plan. He puts the cookie plate on the floor, calls the dog in from outside and shows him the plate. Then he runs to tell Mom that the dog knocked the plate off the counter and ate the cookies. When Mom comes to look, the dog has gone into the living room with her muddy feet and made a mess everywhere. Mom turns to her son and asks how the dog got into the house in the first place.

The cookie thief has been found out.

The desire for immediate gratification led to a chain reaction of events that were anything but pleasant – worry, panic, and scheming.

This is exactly the same pattern of events that occurred with King David in his sin with Bathsheba. The outcome of David’s worry, panic, and scheming was far more devastating than mud on the carpet. David’s scheme to resolve the mess incurred by his desire for immediate gratification led to lies, the murder of Uriah, an innocent man, and the death of his infant son—and those were only the short-term consequences.

David’s “shortcut” to sexual gratification eventually led to rape, more murder and the attempt by his own son overthrow his throne. That is how sin works. Children who will use the dog to hide the theft of cookies are using the same methodology that King David did.  Don’t miss this connection!

Take time to work through these narratives with your children. They provide valuable insight into the workings of the human heart. These narratives will help you to teach your children to truly guard their hearts, as Proverbs 4:23 teaches. The tendency of the heart is to look for gratification and then embark on a pattern of worry, panic and scheming to cover up what was done.

Only the power of Christ and his gospel can break this pattern. When you see your children worrying and scheming, don’t focus only on the missing cookies. Deal with the heart that is driving these schemes. Mud is easy to clean. More cookies can be made. But a young heart that is running from sin and from Christ will lead to problems in life that are not dealt with so easily. Remember David. Help your children see how sin works and then point them to Christ.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.