After many years of “experience,” hundreds of sermons and a number of self-help books, I’ve discovered one thing about myself: I want it, and I want it NOW.
What is “it” you ask? “It” is whatever my worldly side thinks “it” is at the time. “It” may be the latest technology, “it” may be a relationship, “it” may be a new car or “it” may be something that someone else has. Whatever “it” is, I want it and I don’t want to wait for it. Does that seem a little extreme? It may be, and I may be exaggerating a little, but I see people like this every day and everywhere, including one in the mirror once in awhile.
- How often do you go out of the house not worrying about how you look, but take note of how everyone else looks?
- When was the last time you ran out to buy something that was just released or was on sale?
- Do you wait patiently in lines at stores or behind slow drivers?
- When was the last time you didn’t think twice about using your credit card and how you were going to pay for it?
- Have you ever gone out with someone you weren’t interested in, but just did it to “have” a date?
We have all been conditioned to want to be “it,” have “it,” and not wait for “it.” We read magazines and watch TV shows to find out what the latest gadgets are, what the latest styles are, and what the “it” people are doing. We want to be “it.”
We live in an “instant” society - instant information, instant food, and instant results. We are taught that “time is money” and if we wait, we lose.
Isn’t it easy to fall into this mentality? If we don’t have “it,” we think not having “it” is holding us back. If we’re not wearing “it,” we think that we’re not attracting the right person or getting somewhere because of “it.” If we’re not doing “it” or working toward “it,” we think that we never will. If we’re not “it,” we blame it on the past or on somebody else. We think that we can’t get on with our life without “it” or because of “it.”
For some, the “it” that we’re in search of is even spiritually based. Many times we’re in search of “peace,” “contentment,” “a ministry,” “faith” and “hope.”
When it comes to living the single life, today more than ever, I see the following verse quoted:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” Proverbs 13:12, NLT
Hope is one of those “instant” things that we should be able to obtain and possess all of the time, but in reality, we all lose hope at some point. Whenever we place our “hope” in those things of the earth (like people and things), rather than in eternity, we are often disappointed and they do not live up to what we had “hoped” for. If our “hope” is in a spouse and we don’t have any immediate prospects, we will feel as if our hope is deferred and our heart is sick.
Dave Ramsey, noted financial planner and advisor, makes his career helping people to reprogram themselves to not purchase something until they can afford it and teaching ways to reduce debt by living within their means by following a budget.
That’s no fun. Who wants to do that? We don’t want to put off anything in life that we think can bring us instant gratification. We don’t want to “suffer” now even if we believe that we will receive it later. But that’s what the Bible encourages us to do.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later.” Romans 8:18, NLT
The reason that Dave Ramsey is such an experienced financial advisor is because he deals with hundreds of people who don’t want to wait for something in due time – when it’s affordable or right – but rather want it immediately. Maybe that’s why many people are in debt and many marriages don’t last “until death do us part.” But things are not in our time; they are in the Lord’s time.
“But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:25, NLT
“God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12, NLT
James wrote it pretty bluntly for the people of his day, but it has a lot of truth even for us.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:2-3, NLT
The enemy attacks us at our weakest point (within) telling us that we won’t succeed without looking a certain way or having a certain thing, that we won’t ever have a meaningful relationship or a family unless we start now, that we won’t ever be useful in ministry with the background or lack of experience we have. God can use and bless anyone with anything at anytime.
You may come from a broken home or an abusive childhood; you may be divorced or may never have had a serious relationship; you may have many unfulfilled goals and dreams. Whatever “it” is in your life that you think you are missing, whatever “it” is that you think is holding you back, whatever “it” is that is your security blanket that you use as your excuse, ask God to deal with it.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11, NLT
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to "Sandlot Stories" (ARose Books). An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com.