The Marshmallow Test
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23
They call it the marshmallow test. Researchers at Stanford University ran a test in the 1960s. A researcher would say to four-year-olds: “I am leaving for a few minutes to run an errand, and you can have this marshmallow while I am gone, but if you wait until I return, you can have two marshmallows.”
A dozen years later, the researchers restudied the same children and found that those who’d grabbed the single marshmallow tended to be more troubled as adolescents, and they scored an average of 210 points less on SAT tests.
We teach our children to say their ABCs, to say please and thank you, their Bible verses, hymns, and how to tie their shoes…and all these are great things. But never underestimate the value of instilling self-control and delayed gratification.
Self control and delayed gratification are often missing in our training. Usually we fail because we lean on our own power. Remember, self-control is a fruit of the spirit—so if you truly seek to operate under the power of the Holy Spirit, self control will be evident in your life.
“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.” - Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.