Delayed gratification is the process of postponing small “rewards” to “save up” for a bigger reward. The easiest example is money. Successful people save. Successful people understand that $10 here $10 dollars there will add up and if you hold off on senseless spending you will have money for much bigger things.
Dave Ramsey talks a lot about Delayed Gratification. One of his examples is to buy an old and beat up car, not have car payments for 4 or 5 years and save up to buy the car you want cash, no financing. Easier said than done, right? And I know the sales people are jumping up and down with rage about this because people perceive you by how you look, especially in sales where driving a luxury car is almost mandatory, even if you are dead broke. (Someone in sales disagree? Would love to have your opinion about this).
Another example is the marshmallow experiment. You put a bunch of 4 to 6 years old in a room, you give them one marshmallow and you tell If they refrain from eating it you are going to give them 2 marshmallows later, but if they eat it, they won’t be rewarded. It’s fun to watch the little kids itching to eat the marshmallow because they can’t really see or process the future reward. They just want the reward now! What if it does not happen in the future? I can have this little thing right now and I’ll be happy. Why wait for something that may or may not happen? I don’t know what the future holds? I don’t even know if I’ll be alive tomorrow, why should I deprive myself of this simple pleasure now?
Now, what does this have to do with a Christian Blog? (Read Isaiah 40:30-31) Everything. Delayed Gratification is what successful Christians should practice, and no I’m not talking about driving a beat up car your whole life. I’m talking about sin. Just like the marshmallow, sin happens when you can’t see or believe in a future reward from God. We all know what is good and Godly, but we sin because this little “pleasure” now is in reach, is tangible while the long term gain is not. Food perhaps is the most abused little pleasure that exists. Its “cheap” is readily available everywhere and no one will condemn you for having a little treat.
My battle is with processed sugar. Ice cream, cake, chocolate, however you want to disguise it is delicious, pleasurable and truly feels like a reward. The problem is it does not last at all AND it harms my body. I have mild (very mild) arthritis. And every time I do a sugar fast my joints feel much better. And I spoke with nutritionists and doctors that confirmed the fact that sugar is highly inflammatory, yet I can’t seem to be able to stop eating it. Why? Because I can’t really see or I don’t allow myself to see the long term reward versus the little pleasure I’m going to get out of it.
I let the enemy dupe me with that crap talk above from the marshmallow experiment. Oh is just a little chocolate, I’m stressed, I’m tired, I’m this or that and this little piece of chocolate will make me feel better, and it does! But it is in detriment to my health. But because the harm is so faint, so long term is hard to BELIEVE in it. And this is the whole point. Until you don’t BELIEVE in it you won’t fight or embrace it.
So in order to fight sin you have to believe that this is something bad, that sin upset’s God and that sin may prevent you from going to heaven. If you keep believing that “God’s grace will forgive me for all my sin and God loves me and is patient with my wrong doing” you really will never stop doing it.
I never quite understood what “in fear of God” meant. Why should we fear God? God is love, we should never fear God. But this is not what it means. It means respect God, it means I better put my best behaviour forward, always. I need to “police” my actions and thoughts because I don’t want to upset the guy. Read Romans 3:9-18
But how do we know what is harmful when it is not absolutely clear? How do we know that we should or should not do something? Really simple. If you want to live a Godly life the ONLY question you need to ask is: “Does it glorify God?”
If you don’t quite know if the action you are about to take is selfish, harmful or demeaning just ask yourself, will this Glorify God or just satisfy me? Ideally it should do both, right? But if it only helps you …
So, what are the actions you are taking to Glorify God in your life? Would love to hear your thoughts.