“The doctrine of instant gratification is a primary spiritual problem.” -Richard Foster
Instant goose bumps.
The exception, not the rule in Scripture.
What’s a lot more normal?
Noah spent 100 years digging out splinters, shaking sawdust from his feet, and pleading with lost neighbors as he built the ark (Genesis 6-7 NIV).
Abraham and Sarah endured twenty-five years of negative pregnancy tests before the pickle and ice cream cravings prior to Isaac’s birth, though Zechariah and Elizabeth waited even longer for John the Baptist (Genesis 12:4; 21:5; Luke 1:5-7).
The Israelites scraped clay out from under their toenails for hundreds of years before their deliverance from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12:40-41).
Let’s train for perseverance this week. Here’s a handful of verses for your workouts. Consider meditating on one each day:
- Romans 5:2-5 “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:7 “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
- James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
- Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
- 2 Peter 1:5-8 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Is there a time and place for the instant? Sure. Water turning into wine. The healing of the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus’ transfiguration.
Yet, even the resurrection took three days, so let’s not ground our faith on the instant. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He can and does work instantly, but even Jesus waits for God the Father to give the nod for His own return.
Celebrate the instant when it comes, but let’s be prepared to persevere when God calls us to travel the longer road.
Workout of the Week: Instant, It’s Not the Norm
Memory Verse: James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Meditation Passage: Choose one of the verses above.
Just Do It: Prepare to persevere.