MOW OR LATER?
You can get a lot of things instantly these days: instant coffee, instant oatmeal, even "instant winner" lottery tickets. But there are still things that take time. You can't get a high school diploma overnight. You can't grow a sunflower in thirty minutes or less. You can't lose weight instantly (no matter what the infomercials say!). You can't even make instant Jell-O instantly; you have to put it in the refrigerator and let it gel.
The problem is, all those things we can get instantly make it harder for us to wait for other things. We're so used to "fast food" that we can't stand to wait more than a few minutes for dinner in a restaurant (and if we do, we complain about the service!). We're so used to "quick fixes" that we moan and groan when we unwrap a Christmas present that says, "Some assembly required." We're so used to getting things we want now, we have trouble saving or planning or waiting for the things we want.
And the devil, our enemy, knows how to use our desire for "instant winners" and fast rewards to get us to make wrong choices. He knows that most of us are used to getting what we want when we want it. So he tempts us to do wrong by promising that the wrong choice will bring instant gratification.
"I know you don't have enough money to see a movie," he'll say, "but all your friends are seeing that new movie today. Just take the money from your mom's purse; she'll never miss it."
Or, "Go ahead, make fun of your friend; everybody at your lunch table will laugh and think you're cool now. You can always apologize later."
One of the keys to making right choices is learning to say no to the sometimes instant rewards of wrong choices in favor of the greater and more enduring rewards of right choices.
In other words, many temptations to do wrong are like a choice between eating a slice of devil's food cake now and owning your own bakery later. If you can say no now, you can enjoy much greater rewards later. It's often as simple as now or later.
REFLECT: Think over recent choices you've made. Did a desire for "instant" gratification cause you to make the wrong choice in any of those instances? If so, how can you make the right choice next time?
ACT: Buy a pack of the candy called Now & Later. As you eat the candy, remember to "continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised" (Hebrews 10:36).
PRAY:"Lord, help me to say no to the devil's tricks and temptations. Let me see that there are greater and more enduring rewards of doing what is right."