I tried to access a webpage on my phone while working out with a friend last night and was frustrated at how long it was taking to load what I needed to show her. After refreshing about 5 times and waiting for 15 seconds between each refresh, I put my phone away in disgust. My younger self would’ve been amused at my reaction. Remember the days of dial-up internet? It was so exciting that I was able to access the internet at home that I didn’t mind that it took several minutes merely to connect to the internet. Never mind waiting on the pages to load!
We live in a world in which people expect that everything should be taken care of as immediately as possible, if it’s not, then there’s something wrong with it, and we need to find a better and more efficient way. This has become such a normal part of life that even Christians seem to be applying this principle to their spiritual lives. We feel that when we have a desire or need for something, we need to strive to get it as quickly as possible and that we will be satisfied and content once it’s ours…but that’s a lie.
Every gift from God that is meant for eternal value has a counterfeit version meant for temporary instant gratification.
Lust at it’s core says, ‘I have to have this right now’; it may be to satisfy a physical craving, obtain a material desire or to be recognized by others for your accomplishments. Lust constantly reminds you that while you’re waiting on God’s timing, you’re missing out on something great. ‘Look around! God is taking care of everyone else’s needs, but He’s forgotten about you, take matters into your own hands and resolve this issue for yourself. Saying that you’re waiting on God is a cop-out. You’re really just scared to make a move – that’s the way lust operates.
In Psalm 27, David wrote about waiting on God during a time of terrible trouble, and there was no resolution in sight. Instead of giving in to hopelessness, he maintained his confidence that he would “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v.13).
When it seems there is no sign of our deepest longings being fulfilled, the psalmist urges us to cling to our heavenly Father.
When we look for instant gratification in our Christian walk, we will grow frustrated as our efforts to produce spiritual fruit take longer than we expected. Frustration leads to discouragement and ultimately, a temptation to question the basic disciplines of the Christian faith. Expecting that every good thing is quick and simple, we may justify our poor spiritual disciplines with thoughts like, “Prayer takes too long to see results, studying the Bible is boring, and fasting isn’t good for my metabolism.” We may live in an era of instant gratification, but there is no such thing as instant sanctification on this side of heaven.
A mature Christian walk should be marked by patience, especially in spiritual matters. While the world preaches “now,” we are counseled by Scripture to look beyond the here and now and choose to live for an eternal purpose. We are to devote ourselves to a life of discipline, knowing that these disciplines produce fruit in time and in direct proportion to our patience and persistence.
The truth is that the Lord is the only one who will ever be able to fully satisfy our deepest longings. This is something that I knew intellectually for a long time before I started knowing it experientially, and I plead with you to experience it for yourself if you never have. Grab your Bible, a notebook and a pen and sit in a quiet place and wait to hear from God. Pour out your heart to him. Remind yourself of who He is, and feed on His faithfulness by remembering specific ways that He has lavished His love and grace upon you over the years. Seek godly counsel from mature believers, serve the Lord with your heart set on eternity and you will find the fruit of your patience in eternal reward.
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and its character) is stayed on you, because he commits himself to you, leans on you, and hopes CONFIDENTLY in you.| Isaiah 26:3
May we hope confidently in Him today and make choices with lasting, eternal value rather than temporary, instant gratification!