Summary: Life is usually smoother if you make short term sacrifices for greater future benefit. Are you a short term or long term person?

How Do You Think: Long or Short Term?

(Proverbs 21:5-8)

1. Mankind has long recognized the importance of thinking ahead.

2. Take the story of the three pigs…

3. Jesus parable: man builds house on sand vs. on the rock

4. The conflict between immediate gratification and delayed gratification is often the difference between sin and righteousness, wisdom and foolishness, success or failure. Delayed gratification is considered the hallmark of maturity.

5. It takes effort, thought, and especially self-control.

6. Marshmallow Experiment in 60’s… wait 15 minutes, get a second.

7. Some gobbled, some tried to resist and failed, and some waited.

8. 30 years later….those who controlled themselves did better in school, better health, more likely to have a stable marriage and raise children in a 2 parent home.

]Source: Willpower by Baumeister & Tierney, pp.9-13

Main Idea: Life is usually smoother if you make short term sacrifices for greater future benefit. Are you a short term or long term person?

I. The Effort to PLAN Usually Pays Off in the Long Term (5)

A. Planning is associated with DILIGENCE

1. Not always… some people plan to stall or evade action

2. Some people actually find comfort in red tape, discussing the same problems and whining without taking action….useless ruels… intrinsically dishonest…

3. Generally people who act wisely plan first;

4. “fail to plan and you plan to fail.”.

5. Planning takes less effort in the long run; acquire helpers, reserve best seats

6. The diligent are industrious, willing to put in the necessary effort; the hasty are rash, impulsive, impatient, and taking improper short cuts

B. Financially, planners usually PROSPER more than the HASTY

A Forbes Magazine columnist writes: “With the average 401(k) balance for 65 year olds estimated at $25,000 by independent experts .…the decades many elders will spend in forced or elected “retirement” will be grim.

C. The caveat: “Lord WILLING” (James 4:13-15)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

D. The balance: PARTIAL planning ahead

If you are overly diligent, you plan out all details about everything, you get few things done; you have no room for “If the Lords wills…”

1. “The best laid scheme o mice and men gang aft agley” -- surprises happen

2. If you fly by the seat of your pants, things are not done well; you are hasty.

3. The balance: plan broadly, then adjust as you go so you can flex.

Illustration: how I plan sermons…. The PR letter….

Are you a short term or long term person?

II. Lying and Violence Eventually OVERTAKE Those Characterized by Them (6-7)

A. Lying can be a STRATEGY of life

B. Covetous and GREED can make lying seem trivial

C. Lying offers SHORT TERM riches, long term failure

The riches themselves “seek death” – they are like enzymes, magnets for death

Liars lose credibility, trust

Liars lose friends

Liars become addicted to lying, though they know it brings consequences

D. Violent people typically live SHORT and unhappy lives (7)

90% of male gang members are arrested by age 18. Fact: 75% of male gang members are arrested twice by age 18. Fact: 95% of male gang members do not finish high school. Fact: 60% of male gang members are dead or in prison by age 20.


E. Lying, cheating, or violence create ENEMIES

David sinned horribly with Bathsheba; had her husband Uriah killed to cover up his adultery. Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel, was David’s top counselor. When David’s son, Absalom, staged a coup and took over the Kingdom, Ahithophel defected to help Abasalom. David had created enemies by his sin.

F. Failing to control yourself now means failure LATER

III. The Condition of Our CONSCIENCE Sets the Direction of Our Lives (8)

Eastern or collective cultures often view shame as positive, an internal pain that keeps one in line and a team player. Shame is more about being found out, although guilt is part of the equation. Guilt -- the sense that we have done wrong and we know and God knows – exists whether we are found out or not.

When one is ashamed because he is found out, but experiences no or little guilt, he cannot repent. He’s not sorry he did the wrong, he is sorry that he was found out. Sometimes trapped politicians/celebrities, in my view, fall into this category.

A. A GUILTY conscience tends toward a crooked lifestyle

1. Guilt can be real or imagined; sometimes victims feel guilty

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