Delaying Gratification.

“is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with” — Scott Peck, The road less traveled

No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined. — Harry Emerson Fosdick

Discipline is not hard to understand, then, if you can remember the words delayed gratification. BUT understanding discipline and practicing it are two different things. The key to practicing discipline can be described in three words: ADVANCE DECISION MAKING.

Once you make up your mind that the only decent way to live is to schedule the pain and the tough challenges first so that you can enjoy the pleasure, the rewards, and the payoff later, then you have to take an important practical step. You must make advance decisions as to how you are going to practice discipline in the various dimensions of your life. 

Most important of all, advance decision making is an important factor in our relationship with God. We know we are saved by grace and not by hard work, or planning or discipline. 

Excerpt from VOT, a chapter by Bill Hybels

I remembered someone who told me before about advance decision making. She just popped up in my mind right now. I wish I’ve read this a long time ago. LORD, thank you. I pray for my friend who shared this advance decision making to me before. I’m really blessed to have known her. I pray for her.

LORD, I need to practice discipline at home, at school, in my money spending, in my life. In every single part of me. I need this. I’ve been slacking this past weeks. This is totally not me. Help me please.

One more point

You get stronger every time you beat temptation. Each success is an exercise building you up. The more you experience what joy God has for you in life, the less appealing that old life seems. There will always be more temptations as long as you live on this earth. But the closer you come to God, the less you will want to disappoint Him.

Each of us has at least one area of special weakness. We may find temptation too strong there and experience repeated failures. Often we become discouraged and are tempted by a much worse sin: hopelessness.

At these times it is more important than ever to realize the limitless nature of God’s forgiveness. It is limitless, which is hard for us to understand. But if you cling to it, someday you will understand. Not only that, but someday the area you are weakest in will be transformed into a special strength.

Excerpt from Victory over Temptation: The Squeeze

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. –1Cor. 10:13

I obviously was strucked after I read this. But I’m holding on to His promise. Battling temptation.

Desperately… longingly, I….

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate,
and the Master so gently said,
“Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? you say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your word.

My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a “yes”, a go-ahead sign,
or even a “no” to which I can resign.

And lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
“I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied once again, “you must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, “so, I’m waiting… For what?”

He seemed then, to kneel
and His eyes wept with mine,
and he tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want –
but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power I give to the faint;

You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
you’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
you’d not know the joy of resting in Me;
when darkness and silence were all you could see.

You’d never experience that fullness of love
as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
you’d know that I give and I save, for a start,
but you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of my comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight,
the depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.

You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Yes, your dreams for your loved one
overnight would come true,

but, oh, the Loss! if I lost what I’m doing in you!

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And thought oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “Wait.”