The essence of love is DG. Hang in there with me. DG is better for us and all of our relationships every time. It helps because it makes us think of others by putting off the things we’d hope for, of and for ourselves. DG is something quite foreign to our base human nature and unfortunately if we don’t learn it as kids, we struggle to let go enough as adults to really engage with it. The Bible says...
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” –Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV).
“Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.” –1 Corinthian 13:4 (Msg)
Delayed Gratification (DG) is a principle that involves scheduling the pain of life first such that we can enjoy something afterward--having gone without, we really appreciate it and get to train our self-control. The enth degree on Delayed Gratification is going without things (so long as they’re not damaging our health) indefinitely.
For instance, my 3-2-1 diet program demands quite a lot of discipline to get right, but once the decision is made, the power of the will of the mind takes over and I can stick rigidly to it (until I relent). The pain of not giving in to having muffins or biscuits is worth it, provided I maintain my discipline one day at a time. (This is of course easier said than done!--but always possible.)
Discipline seems a hard thing to master; but with the mind the theory’s easy. The motive should be to love our bodies, our minds, our relationships. Putting others first paradoxically means we restore peace to ourselves because we’d ordinarily torment ourselves satisfying ourselves.
Whenever we want things our own way right now, we cut off any chance of lasting happiness. I mean, in a binge, have you ever noticed the second family block of chocolate get tastier than the first one? Do you get happier munching on it? Of course not. We’re actually getting more and more miserable and defeated the more we gorge.
The way to love ourselves properly is to look after these “tents” we’ve been entrusted with, and God has given us Delayed Gratification as a technique to learn and master.
But, delaying our gratification must work mostly in our relationships; in routinely giving our rights up for others. This is a way to make our “light shine before others.” (Matthew 5:16 NRSV) Love and delaying gratification go hand in hand. It’s like when someone offends us; do we get offended? Certainly not! We know that it’s only hurt people who actually hurt people so we forgive them in the moment, though we might re-coil somewhat ourselves. We delay getting our own back. We take the pain now, absorbing it. Then we see what God does. He changes the heart of that person sometimes.
Love is the ability to hold things that are precious to us so lightly that we can have them ripped from us and still love. In this way, we’re “the light of the world,” all for the glory of our Father in heaven as people then truly see God working in and through us. (See Matthew 5:14, 16b NRSV)
Love is a very complete and wholesome emotion; an act; a verb in very many senses; the compilation of virtue (amongst a good many other things).
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.