Choose Short-term Pain for Long-term Gain
by Rick Warren
“[Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25 NIV).
Yesterday we learned that, in order to be all that God wants us to be, we have to make this first resolution: “I resolve that no more will I let other people press me into their mold. I’m going to be what God wants me to be. I’m going to do what God wants me to do, and I’m going to fulfill the plan that God has for my life, not somebody else’s plan for my life.”
Now, the second resolution that you need to make is this: Choose short-term pain for long-term gain.
Anybody who’s ever played sports knows this one. You’ve got to practice and work hard in order to play in a championship game. You don’t just walk out and win the championship. If you’re going to be good at anything, you’ve got to accept short-term pain for long-term gain.
That’s not just true in sports. It’s true in finances. And it’s true in relationships. I have a good marriage, but Kay and I have worked hard for it for years. It didn’t come easy. You’ve got to work at it to make your marriage work, just like anything else in life.
Why is this resolution important in your life? Because most of the problems in your life come from your inability to delay gratification. Everything in society teaches us to say, “I want everything and I want it now and I want it free and I want it easy.” Life doesn’t work like that!
Moses made a choice: “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25 NIV).
It says he chose to be mistreated — to endure the short-term pain for the long-term gain of doing the right thing.
You’re going to have pain in life. But if you choose to do the hard thing right now and put in the effort and the discipline to learn, to grow, to become strong and mature, then later in life you get to benefit from all of that.
I am benefiting right now from decisions I made in my twenties to not spend more than I made, to save, to tithe, to honor God. I’m benefiting many years later because I was disciplined. I did the hard thing first.
When you choose the short-term pain like Moses did, you’re going to see God deliver you so that you can enjoy the long-term reward.
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Talk It Over
What short-term pain are you facing that calls for an eternal perspective?
How have you seen the hard decisions you’ve made or long hours you’ve put in benefit you in the long run?
Why do you think God wants you to choose the hard thing right now, even if it means you have to suffer or endure hardship?