Do you ever struggle with wanting your own way? Let’s face it, we all struggle with wanting instant gratification in our lives. However, this is not how God wants us to act. He wants us to wait for HIS timing.
This is a lesson I learned the day the mannequin beat me up. That’s right. I was beaten up by a mannequin. Let me explain.
A few years ago before I started this ministry, I was writing a book to help men. I had offers from two publishers to publish it. However, these offers came with expenses I couldn’t afford. I decided to trust God to supply the money. This is when instant gratification reared its ugly head.
After a few weeks of waiting and no money, I decided maybe God needed a little help. So I sent countless letters to churches and Christian businessmen, hoping for a check to be sent. No money came. By this time, the stress of waiting was really taking its toll. My back muscles tightened and my neck got stiff. I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about what I wanted. Thoughts of how to get money for the book filled my mind constantly. I was a wreck!
One day I took my mom and sister shopping. Being a gentleman, I dropped them off at the door and parked the car. As I entered the store I began looking for my family. As I walked down the aisle, I noticed a man pushing a cart loaded with 12 boxes. As he rounded the corner in front of me, the boxes shifted and tumbled off, crashing into a mannequin. Almost in slow motion, I saw the mannequin falling towards me. I instinctively reached out my arm, hoping to catch it. Little did I realize this dummy wasn’t made of plastic. It was concrete, and it was heavy!
The mannequin crashed down on top of me. I was left with a sprained shoulder. What was my first thought? “Maybe God will use this to supply the money for the book.”
I know that is ridiculous, but I wanted my book published! I was tired of waiting on God. Even in this horrible accident, I wanted to gratify my desires. It gets worse.
The store offered to pay my medical expenses. Instead of being grateful, I got angry that they didn’t offer me money! That night as I lay in bed with extreme pain, I began planning to hire a lawyer and sue their pants off (something which goes against my personal convictions.) Not only was my book not getting published, but because of their mannequin, it was painful to sit at the computer and write anything!
That night as I lay in bed, moaning and groaning in pain, God spoke to me. He showed me the sin of wanting instant gratification. It was controlling me. It kept me from trusting in Him to supply for me. I was trying to control things. I was willing to go against my convictions and seek revenge to get what I wanted. This is the trap of instant gratification.
Instant gratification is dangerous. It comes on us before we realize it. It is deadly because it weakens our faith and keeps us from waiting on God. We become independent. Left unchecked, it leads us into sin and away from God.
This is not like Jesus. He didn’t seek instant gratification. Satan tempted Him three times in the desert, and each temptation would have given Him instant gratification. He refused to pursue it. Even when facing death on the cross, He surrendered His desires because He knew the pain would be worth it in the long run. We must do the same. We must decide to live a life dedicated to God and His will, not our own desires. That way, God won’t have to have a mannequin beat us up to get our attention!
P.S. I still wince whenever I walk past that mannequin in the store!