The freedom to choose

October 2, 2014

Forty years ago research conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University found one single factor that can predict the successful outcome of a person’s life.. It was discovered through a test conducted on three years olds. A marshmallow was placed in front of them and they were given the option to eat it or wait fifteen minutes and have two marshmallows. The children continued to be  followed up  for over forty years and repeatedly the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeeded in whatever capacity was being measured. In other words, this series of experiments showed that the ability to delay gratification is critical for success in life. So often the Christian church is portrayed as out of touch with life today. Here is a lesson the church has been offering for years; Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. Today’s scriptures teach that we are planted in God, the vineyard of life, hedged with protection, provided with a watchtower to keep marauders away. We are given everything we need to produce good fruit, indeed we are expected to do so. Our actions have consequences and our moral choices matter. We are also given the freedom to choose. Do we have the discipline to choose wisely? How do you think Christians in NZ can get this message of life-giving discipline across?

 

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