‘My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what command.’ (vv12–14)
Our focus has been on pursuing God’s purpose in our lives. According to British researchers Andrew Steptoe and Daisy Fancourt, ‘Maintaining a sense that life is worthwhile may be particularly important at older ages when social and emotional ties often fragment, social engagement is reduced, and health problems may limit personal options.’
As youthful enthusiasm abandons us to ageing, we focus more on life’s purpose. We must consider if the pleasure principle (our instinctive search for pleasure and avoiding pain for immediate gratification) is sufficient.
A sign of maturity is being responsible enough to make sacrifices for the good of others and the future without any resentment.
A mature faith draws comfort from the implicit delayed gratification in Jesus’ promise of an eternal future, for which we have been created. Part of that process may well be making personal sacrifices on behalf of others. Perhaps as parents, we’ll instinctively make sacrifices for our children, but that is not a given.
Jesus demonstrated what sacrifice looks like, and it’s not initially an appealing vision. However, on further consideration, to lay life down for the benefit of humanity is a noble purpose and one from which we can all learn.
A sign of maturity is being responsible enough to make sacrifices for the good of others and the future without any resentment. Responsible people understand that sometimes gratification needs to be delayed now in order to attain a future outcome.
Delayed gratification requires learning how to manage our present need for satisfaction through anticipation of how it enables us to thrive. Over time, delaying gratification will improve our self-control and help bring focus to our long-term goals.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER:
Gen. 25:29–34; 1 Sam. 24:1–7; Matt. 16:21–28; Heb. 6:12–20.
AN ACTION TO TAKE:
How do you consider the pleasure principle in your decisions?
Are you able to patiently live in anticipation of God’s promise?
A PRAYER TO MAKE:
‘Lord, my heart yearns for You; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Amen.’ (Ps. 84:2)
Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash; Image by Freepik