Remember how it was with you in the past. In those days, after God’s light had shone on you, you suffered many things, yet were not defeated by the struggle. You were at times publicly insulted and mistreated, and at other times you were ready to join those who were being treated in this way. You shared the sufferings of prisoners, and when all your belongings were seized, you endured your loss gladly, because you knew that you still possessed something much better, which would last for ever. (verses 32-34)
Read Hebrews 10:26-39
A sign of emotional intelligence is the self-discipline to practise delayed gratification. This means that you have the ability to work hard or suffer inconvenience in order to achieve something worthwhile in the end which more than makes up for the pain. A good example are Olympic athletes who put themselves through gruelling training schedules for years in order to win a gold medal at the end. On the other hand, it is a sign of weakness to give in to yourself and your appetites.
Delayed gratification has a spiritual dimension as well. As the writer of our text describes it, the Christian life often involves us in hard work and suffering. Sometimes we wonder if it is all worthwhile. Other people seem to be having a much better time. In the end, however, we know that our reward will be beyond measure. This gives us the strength to endure.
Dear God, help me always to see what goals are worth striving for, and strengthen me to bear any suffering in your name gladly. Amen.
by Richard Hauser, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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