Apparently, I took a blogging hiatus for the summer. Busy, got a new phone but my laptop operating system is too old to sync with it so I can't upload pics, and I keep procrastinating ordering a new OS because I know my laptop doesn't have enough space for it, which means I'll need to move lots of photos off of it first ... whatever. I haven't blogged in a few months but I miss it & want to get back in the habit.
I've been doing a little writing for other blogs, though, so since I never got around to linking up to them I'll just do a little re-post here. Just making sure I still remember how this whole thing works :) I wrote this little ditty about the delayed gratification of faith a few weeks ago ... I would just link to it but our church's women's ministry blog is on Tumblr, so I'll just re-post. Hope it encourages you as you wait on the Faithful One!
Delayed gratification. Waiting for something
better, later, instead of settling for less, now. The Scriptures tell us
story after story of waiting for fulfillment: Abraham packed up his
family and left home, waiting to be shown the land that was to belong to
his descendents. The Israelites toiled in Egypt for hundreds of years
while waiting to be delivered from slavery. Daniel spent the night with
lions, and his friends went into the furnace—all of them awaiting rescue
even in the midst of dramatically awful circumstances. Waiting may be a
common theme throughout the Bible, but that isn’t the only source that
tells us that waiting is good.
In my role as a counselor, I often have the opportunity to see the
truths of Scripture fleshed out (whether for better or worse) in the
lives of my clients, as well as in psychological research. I love seeing
God’s Word stand firm as researchers publish their findings that
announce (in so many words), “Studies have shown your life will work
better if you live like this … ,” while they don’t even realize that
whatever basic truth they are proclaiming is one that God gave us
thousands of years ago. One such subject of study is that of delayed
gratification. Over the past fifty years, multiple studies have shown
that children who demonstrate an ability to delay gratification will
generally go on to experience greater success in life than those who act
I believe this discipline of waiting is so vitally important because
God does not intend for us to find our greatest fulfillment in things
that can be obtained in the here and now—new homes, job promotions, good
health, successful relationships, etc. These things can all be
wonderful blessings, but if we allow any of them to become our end goal,
we will one day be left wishing that we had waited for that which is
greater. We have been promised that Jesus is preparing a place for us
(John 14:3) and that our reward in heaven is great (Matthew 5:12).
The cost of abundant life now and great reward later is high—we must
be willing to take up our cross and follow Him. We must die to our own
ambitions and dreams. We must make the commandments of loving God and
loving others, and the commission to make disciples, the great pursuits
of our lives. Might some earthly, material blessings and comforts be
part of what we are given to steward? Of course, but we must strive to
deny the addiction that can come with the immediate gratification those
So how, practically, do we do this in our wealthy and materialistic
culture? Once again, even modern psychology points us back to Biblical
truths. More recent studies on delayed gratification have tried to
answer the question, “What makes certain people willing to wait?” The
findings from one study indicated that children who were able to
distract themselves from the immediate prize had a much greater ability
to wait for the greater reward that had been promised if they abstained.
This truth calls to mind Colossians 3:2: “Set your minds on things that
are above, not on things that are on earth.” If we will train ourselves
to become distracted with the things of God—His promises and works—we
will find it much easier to lay aside selfish living. On the other hand,
if we feed our minds a steady diet of media and conversations that
center on material stuff, we will constantly be frustrated in our
attempts to deny self. It will always feel too hard.
In addition, we don’t have to depend on ourselves to create this type
of growth in our lives. Another study showed that a child’s ability to
delay gratification was tied to the dependability of the one promising
future reward. If the child was continually disappointed, he or she
tended to grab at the immediate prize while it was available. They had
been given empty promises and they knew it. However, children who had
the experience of receiving what had been promised in earlier instances
were much more likely to wait for the reward. They knew that the one who
had promised was faithful.
The One Who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Do you know
that? If you will set your affection on Him, if you will allow your mind
to dwell on His promises to you and stories of the ways He has shown
Himself faithful, a new excitement for eternal reward will follow. The
more you know Him, the more natural it will become to wait on Him. He
will convince you if you give Him the time. Will you make room in your
heart for anticipating delight?
Reflect & Respond
1. “Take your temperature” in regard to waiting … are you already
disciplined in setting your mind on long-term goals, or does impulsivity
constantly derail you? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any areas in your
life where you repeatedly grab at what is temporary instead of patiently
2. Consider the subjects that distract your mind. Do you find
yourself often coveting things or relationships you don’t have, or
putting your best energy toward goals that aren’t lasting?
3. Begin building a cache of truth and encouragement in your mind and
heart. Read Scripture. Memorize it. Read autobiographies/biographies of
men and women of faith, and learn how God showed Himself faithful to
them. Spend time with people whose eyes are set on a prize more distant
than a few decades from now, and let their passion rub off on you.
4. Ask God to grow you into a woman who seeks first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).