You probably heard about the now famous Stanford Marshmallow Test (1972). Walter Mischel put 32 young children in the study. He reported over the years that followed those who were able to delay gratification (wait as requested until they were given a further reward) tended to have better life outcomes over time. This was true not just physically (lower BMI), but also educationally, and behaviourally. Others replicating the study since have not found quite such large differences in the cohorts but it's a very interesting and influential study in psychology.
But when I picture those kids licking their lips and thinking about how great the marshmallow must taste, or if I were to ask my six year old, or what I’d do, I know I probably would not reply quickly, because I was taught not to speak with my mouth full.
Today we are going to look at temptation from the Bible book written by Jesus’ younger brother James, Chapter 1.
In the first half of the chapter, after greeting God’s scattered people, he focused on the trials we all go through in life, which can be terribly painful and many of us will be feeling that right now. Yet James says there is a way we can get joy from them, if we persevere through them.
Where he heads next may initially seem a little bit strange, especially if you are able to read the original language because it’s actually the same word used but James goes straight from talking about trials to temptations. But isn't it true that often when we go through hard times, we’re more susceptible to being tempted? The devil fights dirty, and kicks you when you're down!
One specific temptation I’m susceptible to when times are harder is to get grumpy and blame ...
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