Children, in all their uncensored glory, are mirrors for our souls.
My three-year-old grandson was just out-of-sorts. This particular day was harder than usual. He cried for no apparent reason. He was peevish with his siblings. Nothing brought comfort. We had seen this a couple times before and knew that there was no benefit in talking about it. His turbulent emotions left him seemingly unable to reason. Insight was useless. But his mother tried all the same.
“Jackie, what is it that you want?” The question was largely rhetorical. But for some reason, the question settled into his overtaxed mind. He stopped crying. He actually thought and then answered.
“Mommy, I want…I want…EVERYTHING.”
By our standards, his everything was minimalist. He wanted his misplaced toy ambulance, the police car his brother seemed to be hoarding, and a doughnut. Maybe a few minutes on an iPhone. Nothing more. The adult list is much longer. He is certainly a mirror of our humanity. If you were to summarize us in a word, it would be “desire.” We are people of desire, of wanting, of longing.
The common word for desire in the New Testament is epithumia. Along with agape it might be the one other Greek word worth knowing. Its range extends from natural desires such as for food and good things such as the desire to be with Jesus, to selfish or evil desires that ultimately reveal a temporary sympathy with the Devil. The challenge is to have “desire under control,” be increasingly consonant with the heart of God, and desire him more than anything on earth.¹
Our challenge today is that we want EVERYTHING. Our aim is for souls that are tamed because of God’s grace in Christ. Through that grace we learn contentment and joy.
¹Luke 15:16, Philippians 1:23, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 7:37, Psalm 73:25