Can I have a Bible?” Only one other question can top it: “What must I do to be saved?” Being on the receiving end of these questions is truly a blessing. I cherish the chance to talk about the gospel. These questions are always great questions. But, they can arise from a whole host of different motives.
Some children ask for a Bible because they genuinely want to read and study God’s Word. Others ask for the Bible simply because their friend just asked for a Bible. Others ask for a Bible simply because they are in the mood for collecting free things, like candy, business cards, and oh yes…a bible.. They would just as happily work to acquire a pencil or a pack of smarties.
To discern the motives behind a child’s questions, we must draw out their heart by asking more questions and watching how what they do next. I often respond to requests for a Bible by asking the child to ask me again in a week. More times than not, the child never comes back. The question was fired off in the moment for a whole host of reasons. The child potentially loved stuff or was trying to please her teachers. I am not sure of her motive. But her failure to come back revealed that she did not truly desire a Bible because she had a heart to study and read the Word. If she had such a heart, she would have asked again. Those children who come back do get a Bible.
Great questions, great displays of faith, and great interest in obedience is easy to feign for a time. But without the Spirit no one can pursue the things of God. No one can pursue righteousness in their own strength.
When we hear children profess a desire to obey, to read the Word, and to follow Christ, we should be super excited. We should talk with them and encourage them to trust and obey Jesus.
But, we should not jump to conclusions. We should not assume that we know what is in their heart. Rather, we need to listen and watch. We need to see if they bear the fruit of repentance. We need to see if their desires have changed.
Godly words are easy, Godly deeds are impossible without Christ. To judge the heart and the desires driving our kids, we must look past their words to their actions. We must put our x-ray googles on. As we do so, we will gain a better understanding of what drives our children to do what they do.
Are you ready to move past words?