Delayed Gratification

I was teaching on Biblical Prosperity in Kisumu, Kenya to a group of African pastors and leaders about some keys they could use to rise up out of poverty. At the break, Hesbone Odindo who is the apostolic leader of this region stood up and drew attention to this principle of delayed gratification as a practical key for Christian leaders in Africa to prosper in their finances. Delayed gratification is generally associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later.

It is hard for folks anywhere in the world who have been trained to expect things delivered to them instantly to choose to delay gratification. But this is the biblical way of self government and is one practical way to see prosperity in your finances. Sacrifice present pleasures for future gain. We see in Proverbs that God taught the Hebrews to be self governed:

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28 NLT

One way this self government manifests is delayed gratification. To plan for the future will make you more prosperous because it is thinking long range. The former smoker will pass on smoking cigarettes to avoid cancer and live a longer life. The African will pass on buying a new suit of clothes so in the future he can have more than one suit for him and his sons. Shoppers resist splurging at the mall so they can develop net worth by saving for a comfortable retirement.

Interestingly enough, modern research has connecting this principle of delay gratification with the ability to prosper:

More than 40 years ago, Walter Mischel, PhD, a psychologist now at Columbia University, explored self-control in children with a simple but effective test. He presented a preschooler with a plate of treats such as marshmallows. The child was then told that the researcher had to leave the room for a few minutes, but not before giving the child a simple choice: If the child waited until the researcher returned, they could have two marshmallows. If the child simply couldn’t wait, they could ring a bell and the researcher would come back immediately, but they would only be allowed one marshmallow. Preschoolers with good self-control sacrificed the immediate pleasure of a chewy marshmallow in order to indulge in two marshmallows at some later point.

When He revisited his marshmallow-test subjects as adolescents. He found that teenagers who had waited longer for the marshmallows as preschoolers were more likely to score higher on the SAT, and their parents were more likely to rate them as having a greater ability to plan, handle stress, respond to reason, exhibit self- control in frustrating situations and concentrate without becoming distracted. American Psychological Association

As stated in the last blog, the Biblical concepts of savings and frugality are core actions to accomplish delayed gratification that allow for the accumulation of net worth for an individual over time. Make a decision today to delay gratification. You can do it. You will prosper.

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