Proverbs 25:28 (NIV), “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
It’s true! You never fully realize how little self-control you have until the warm chips and spicy salsa are placed in front of you at your favorite Mexican restaurant. UGH! Just like the kids participating in the famous Marshmallow Experiment, we often find ourselves lacking the right attitude EVEN IF we find some semblance of success in waiting to ingest the calories. The pull of temptation is universal! From the garden to the grave, it’s what comes next that changes everything . . . our chosen ACTION!
President Lincoln stated, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” I have a feeling Abe would have aced the Marshmallow Experiment since the research supports those who do well with delayed gratification also score higher on logic, impulse control, and patience-based decisions. There are exceptions, but I think we can agree that the ultimate form of self-control can be measured by leaving Hobby Lobby empty handed!
Sure, any fool can complain, react, and indulge . . . (see definition for fool). But understanding, forgiveness, and compassion tend to grow from the root of self-control. Spurgeon nails it when he says, “God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire . . . and that you will treasure the mercy all the more on account of the wait.” Let’s be clear. This “self-control” doesn’t get harnessed and implemented by our efforts. No, only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit alive and at work in us do we have a chance to limit our earthly Tasmanian fits. (I can testify and it wasn’t pretty!)
It’s a backwards design. We get to schedule the pleasure of a wise decision made and multiplied blessings that ripple from that decision when we first choose the angst of delayed gratification. In these days where “blame shifting” has become an art form practiced by too many of us, practicing self-control could truly enhance all the Fruits of the Spirit to a world desperate for a gentle spot to land.
We should work to mirror what Jesus values . . . self-control laser focused on glorifying our heavenly Father. That’s time well spent . . . but please DON’T pass the chips!