ONE OF THE MARKS OF SELF-CONTROL IS THE ABILITY TO DELAY GRATIFICATION.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11.
Verse of the Day: “Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:8, NIV).
“I want it now!”
Cathy stared at the toddler in the supermarket. The little boy stomped his feet and screamed at his mother, demanding a cookie.
Cathy shook her head. “That kid sure was spoiled,” she whispered to her mom.
Mom smiled and nodded, but said nothing until they went down another aisle. “Have you saved enough money yet for your class trip next month?”
Cathy thought about the overnight trip to Washington, D. C. She had to raise part of the expenses herself. “No,” she answered. “I haven’t really saved anything yet.”
Mom nodded. She had known the answer to the question before she asked.
Cathy sighed. “I just keep seeing things I want. I forget I’m supposed to be saving for my trip.”
Mom stopped pushing the cart and stood still. “I know, dear,” she said. “A lot of us have that problem … just like the little boy over in the next aisle.” “What do you mean?” Cathy asked.
“Well,” Mom said, “that little boy threw a temper tantrum because he didn’t want to wait for a cookie. He wanted it now. In other words, he had a self-control problem because he couldn’t delay gratification.”
“Huh?” Cathy said.
“Let me ask you this: If I gave you a choice between a candy bar right now or two candy bars tomorrow, which would you choose?”
Cathy answered immediately. “I’d take the candy bar now.”
“Right. A lot of people would, even though they could get twice as many candy bars by waiting just one day. We have trouble putting off pleasure, even if it benefits us in the long run.”
“That’s why I’m having trouble saving,” Cathy admitted.
“1 know,” Mom said. “But not being able to delay gratification can have serious consequences. It often keeps us from doing the right or responsible thing. So often it’s much easier to choose wrong because that will bring immediate gratification. The right choice is much better, but it may take longer for it to pay off. But,” Mom added, “making the right choice is like making a deposit in your savings account. You may not see its benefits right away, but someday you’ll be very glad it’s there.”
TO DISCUSS: What was Cathy’s problem? How can she solve it? How do you show self-control in this area?
TO PRAY: “Lord, help us learn how to delay getting what we want so we can practice self-control more and more.”