“[Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25 NIV).
Anybody who’s ever played sports knows this one. You’ve got to practice and work hard in order to play in a championship game. You don’t just walk out and win the championship. If you’re going to be good at anything, you’ve got to accept short-term pain for long-term gain.
That’s not just true in sports. It’s true in finances. And it’s true in relationships. I have a good marriage, but Kay and I have worked hard at it for years. It didn’t come easily. You’ve got to work to make your marriage thrive, just like anything else in life.
Why is this resolution important in your life? Because most problems in life come from the inability to delay gratification. Everything in society teaches us to say, “I want everything and I want it now and I want it free and I want it easy.” Life doesn’t work like that!
Moses made a choice: “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25 NIV).
It says he chose to be mistreated—to endure the short-term pain for the long-term gain of doing the right thing.
You’re going to have pain in life. But if you choose to do the hard thing right now and put in the effort and the discipline to learn, to grow, to become strong and mature, then later in life you get to benefit from all of that.
I am benefiting right now from decisions I made in my 20s to not spend more than I made, to save, to tithe, to honor God. I’m benefiting many years later because I was disciplined. I did the hard thing first.
When you choose the short-term pain like Moses did, you’re going to see God deliver you so that you can enjoy the long-term reward.
ACCEPT EACH DAY exactly as it comes to you. By that, I mean not only the circumstances of your day but also the condition of your body. Your assignment is to trust Me absolutely, resting in My sovereignty and faithfulness. On some days, your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance: The demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives—
giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you. You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl out of the mire of discouragement. I will infuseMy strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me, by
relying on My empowering Presence.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, my Savior. . . .
PSALM 42 : 5
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power
we will live with him to serve you.
2 CORINTHIANS 13 : 4
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
JEREMIAH 31 : 25
The Barrier of Pride
Life is a struggle, but what most people don’t realize is that our struggle, like Jacob’s in Genesis 32:22-32, is really with God! We want to be God, and there’s no way we’re going to win that struggle, but we try anyway.
A.W. Tozer said, “The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.”
We aren’t God, and we never will be. We’re humans, and the times when we try to be God are the times we end up most like Satan, who tried to be equal with God, too.
We accept our humanity intellectually, but not emotionally. We give mental assent to the idea, but when faced with our own limitations, we react with irritation, anger, and resentment. We want to be taller (or shorter), smarter, stronger, more talented, beautiful, and wealthy.
We want to have it all and do it all, and become upset when it doesn’t happen. Then, when we notice God gave others characteristics we don’t have, we respond with envy, jealousy, and self-pity.
C. S. Lewis observed, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because he made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”