In the 1970's there was a behavioral study done by Walter Mischel at Stanford University. They would put a marshmallow in front of a child and tell them they could eat it or if they waited until the adult came back they could have two marshmallows. They followed the kids who ate the one marshmallow and the one who waited to have two. The researchers recorded how long each child waited before eating the marshmallow and then followed them and recorded future successes. As you can guess, much was gleaned about self-control through this study. Through keeping track of the children later on it was seen that those who delayed gratification were more competent, had higher SAT scores, and were more successful.
Of course, as I was reading this I was processing it in the spiritual. How often we want what is right in front of us without regard of future implications. We throw temper tantrums about how our spouse acts or our children. We whine and cry about how hard things are. What if we developed self-control and started putting others ahead of ourselves? What if we refrained from over-reacting and were available for others to bring healing? the beautiful thing we have working for us is that in Galatians 5:23, we are told that self-control is a fruit of God's Spirit. We can ask for it. He will develop it in us. We can pray it over our children and teach them to pray it for themselves. Take a minute and ask the Lord to grant you this fruit of the Spirit.
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