We definitely live in a society today, the year 2013, of “GIVE IT TO ME NOW!” We don’t have to wait very long for information (just google it), for conversation (cell phone), entertainment (computer or cell phone), food (just drive thru), movies (just use your remote and rent one). And UPS and Federal Express can bring it to your door overnight! I call that instant gratification. I’m not so sure this helps us develop patience and self-control, but this instant world is all our 3 children have ever known. I have lived both eras, delayed gratification and instant gratification! It seems to baffle my parents. Some things they enjoy, like “drive-thru’s,” but the computer and smart phone are just too much for them. If you are alive and active today, the society we live in does not promote “delayed gratification” in many, many areas.
To develop self-control and patience, you have to experience situations that sometimes force you to develop what the Bible calls “fruits of the spirit!” I have spent much time in the past four years focusing on the “fruits of the spirit”. Realizing the more of the fruits I have, the more Christ-like I become. That is my goal. To say the least, self-control and patience have been the two most difficult for me. I have loved the fruit of my labor, with God’s help of course. As I have zeroed in on these two fruits, I can truly testify to God allowing Major tests in my life so that I could vividly see, first, how I was progressing. And second, see where I was having “victory” and where “work was needed!”
As God always does, it is His character, because HE knows our heart and motives, He has brought encouragement and information that has really helped in my focus. Recently I picked up a book by Mark Batterson entitled, “All In”! Let me just stop and say it is a “must read!!” It has convicted me, encouraged me and taught me many things. Allow me to share how God has used this book to teach me, and hopefully you, about patience and self-control and the God-intended benefits.
In the book Mark talks about a study called, “The Marshmallow test”. This is a test where young children were individually placed in a room with a marshmallow for a period of time. They were told if they waited upon the instructor to return and didn’t eat the marshmallow, they would receive a second marshmallow. But if they decided to eat the marshmallow, they WOULD NOT GET A SECOND ONE. The test allowed the researchers to observe and take notes on each child in the test. Some children touched, danced around and even stood on their heads to keep from eating the marshmallow. Some instantly ate it. Some waited to eat but gave in just minutes before the return of the teacher. The researchers followed all the kids in the study through college and into the working world. Can you guess what the results were?????????? The kids who DID NOT EAT THE MARSHMALLOW, and WAITED, A.K.A. THE ONES WHO DISPLAYED SELF-CONTROL AND PATIENCE…… performed better in school and on standardized tests. They excelled more in the work place. Their marriages and relationships were happier than the ones of those who couldn’t wait and ate the marshmallow.
God’s word and His WISDOM are so amazing to me……HE knows what is best for us and gives us the BEST OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED AND LIVE HAPPY, SATISFYING LIVES. He gave His word, the Bible, which is a guide for how He speaks to us and wants us to live. He desires the BEST FOR US. There are countless studies today that validate ALL OF SCRIPTURE. The above is just one current example I wanted to share with you. It shows the long-term results of having the fruit of the spirit–patience and self-control. His word never returns void. Let me just leave you with the scripture found in Galatians 5 where God instructs us to have the fruits of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
On the Back 9, I have found that seeking to multiply these fruits in my life have brought significant rewards…way more than a second marshmallow!