God Guides Our Actions
Noah kept working when God was quiet.
When God called Noah to build an ark, Noah might not have known how difficult it would be.
But, God went quiet.
And when the ark was finished, Noah was ready.
Then God spoke.
Abraham prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac until God spoke.
Up until the moment that Abraham was about to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, God was quiet.
At the final moment, God spoke and redirected Abraham and thanked him for his obedience.
The Bible is our guide for life.
We know pretty well what God expects out of us in life.
While we may not always know what God has for us in this life, we do know how we should be acting and what a Christian lifestyle should look like.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” — 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
While we can control what we can control, no matter how hard we work, God can withhold or bless us with an outcome or final point.
One thing that people do not seem to often focus on is delayed gratification. We do not need everything to happen it once. Besides, if it did, we wouldn’t often be ready.
How can we be ready to do something that we have never done?
“It has been widely demonstrated that delay discounting can affect one’s health, wealth, and happiness (e.g., Cherukupalli, 2010; Daugherty & Brase, 2010; Dittmar & Bond, 2010; Frederick et al., 2002)” (sourced here).
By withholding or waiting for certain things, we are able to increase our happiness and become fully prepared for whatever we are going to encounter or experience in the future.
How individuals orient themselves in relation to the future is an important aspect of human motivation because goals, plans, and hopes are located in the future (Nuttin & Lens, 1985)” (sourced here).
It’s not going to happen today, I can tell you that much. Much of the things that we are looking forward to doing need to have a lot of preparation time and planning time. Along with that, there is often work and/or an exertion of energy that is needed. All goals are located in the future and the important thing is that we do not expect anything to happen immediately.
“To function effectively, individuals must voluntarily postpone immediate gratification and persist in goal‐directed behaviour for the sake of later outcomes (Mischel, Shoda, & Monica, 1989). Choosing a smaller, more immediate reward over a larger, but delayed reward has been described as ‘impulsive’, and as due to a lack of ‘self‐control’, and as an example of an inability to ‘delay gratification’ (e.g., Green, 1982; Logue, 1988)” (sourced here).
What happens if we choose an immediate reward? Well, sin is in the world and that is the best possible example I can think of. The Bible makes it very clear what is acceptable to God and what is not. What I’ve found from my own experience is that if I feel the need to justify my reason for doing something then I probably should not be doing that thing. Indulging in the short term in things that are sinful in God’s eyes not only displays a lack of self-control but also expresses the belief that the short-term is more important than what is waiting for us — in this case, heaven.
Whatever happens to us in this life, God can use it for good.
Beyond that, whatever we get ourselves into in this life, God can get us out of it.
We must remain adaptable and willing to learn and grow and improve.
God knows what is best for us and often that means that we must delay gratification until we are ready and prepared and equipped for whatever it is that God has for us.