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Spiritual Growth - Living a Life of Faith

Instant Gratification – Never Settle For Less

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We all love instant gratification, don’t we? We like things right now! We are a society that can access information in an instant! We can place an order on Amazon right from the comfort of our living room and have it delivered at lightning speed to our front doors (and it’s only going to get faster)!

I get it! I am a huge Amazon fan for that very reason! It is awesome when you need something fast and can get it!

But is that instantaneous gratification always a good thing? No, not always! Learn why you should never settle for less than God’s best for you by giving in to instant gratification!

An image of stew in a pot on a wooden table and text that says Instant Gratification - Never Settle For Less

Example of Instant Gratification in the Bible

The Bible gives us a textbook example of the dangers of instant gratification. It can be found in the story of our old friend Jacob and his brother, Esau.

Jacob and Esau

Jacob and Esau were brothers, the sons of Issac and Rebekah. They were twins and had been literally fighting each other since the womb! 

Genesis 25:22-23:

“But the children struggled with one another inside her, and she said, “If it’s like this, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of AdonaiAdonai said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from your body
    will be separated.
One people will be stronger
    than the other people,
    but the older will serve the younger.” “TLV

The Bible tells us that Esau was a very skilled hunterInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 1 and a man of the field and Jacob, well Genesis 25: 27 tells us

“…Jacob was a mild man, remaining in tents.” TLV

One day, Esau comes back from a huntingInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 2 trip and he is tired and hungry! He spots some stew that Jacob had made and he asks for a bowl.  Genesis 25:30:

“so Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me some of this really red stuff, because I’m exhausted”—that is why he is called Edom.” TLV

Some translations use the words faint, famished. The Hebrew word for “faint” is ‘ayeph and the meaning is faint or weary. Basically, as in the version above, he was tired.

I find it funny that he did not mention hungry. He merely said he was tired but one could assume he was tired and run down from hunger since he sought food.

So Jacob, being the loving brother he is (insert sarcasm here…) says in Genesis 25:31:

“Sell your birthright to me today.” TLV

Instantaneous Gratification in a Bowl of Red Stew

Seems a steep price to pay for a bowlInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 3 of stew, doesn’t it? A birthright for one meal?

But rather than Esau telling his brother to go pound sandInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 4 and running in to see Mom for a sandwichInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 5, Esau says, in Genesis 25:32:

“Esau said, “Look, I’m about to die. Of whatever use is this to me—a birthright?”” TLV

Now, I am guessing here that Esau was being a bit melodramatic.

He was probably not at the point of death at all.

Oh, it may have felt that way! I have been pretty hangryInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 6 before and it can definitely feel that way!

But recall, when he asked for the stew he didn’t even mention hunger. He didn’t say he was starving to death. He merely said he was exhausted. Now all of a sudden he is at death’s door.

So he sells his birthright for a bowl of red stew.

The BibleInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 7 tells us then that Esau despised his birthright.

The Hebrew word used here is bazah and means to hold in contempt, to be worthless. He saw everything his birthright afforded him now and in the future, worthless because of momentary hunger.

He sold his birthright for instant gratification.

An image of red stew in a pot with Genesis 25:32 quoted in Tree of Life Version

The Dangers of Instant Gratification

How many times do we FEEL like we are just going to die if we don’t get what we want?

As I said, Esau wasn’t starving to death. He probably just FELT that way. But feelings lie! The enemy uses feelings to get us to move away from God’s will in our situation.

Esau was willing to give up everything just for a bowlInstant Gratification - Never Settle For Less 8 of stew.

He allowed his physical discomfort to distort his sense of need. He allowed his flesh to make a decision that would alter his life. At that moment, he felt like all the blessings in the world would be useless if he were dead.

He settled for less! He had his birthright and he settled for less!

What are we willing to give up to meet our immediate need? What do we sacrifice in order to fulfill the NOW?

How do we allow fear to override faith in our circumstances?

I have done it. We all have done it at one time or another.

An image of a crown and text that says Kneel Before the Throne - Exploring Ephesians

Never Settle for Less

The problem with instant gratification is it often comes with regret. Once we get what we wanted we soon realize the extent of what we gave up to get it.

We realize we, like Esau, settled for less. It could be what we gave up was something of great value or it could be that we gave up our peace.

Esau, I am sure, likely ate his stew and, as soon as his need was met, he realized just what he gave up to get it and it paled in comparison. He probably lived with that regret for quite some time.

Regret seems a steep price to pay to satisfy our flesh in the moment. Never settle for less! Never settle for less than what God has planned for you simply to satisfy yourself and your wants or needs in the here and now!

If we receive instant gratification often enough, we can easily lose the willingness to wait on God and for what He has for us. We lose the ability to manage expectations because we want what we want when we want it.

We become driven by our flesh and its wants, rather than by the Spirit. In essence, we remove God from the situation.

Rather than praying about something and seeking God’s will in the situation, we make the decision in a moment based on the lusts of the flesh.

What blessings of God are we robbing ourselves of, what blessings are we giving up, by settling for stew?

Isaiah 40:31:

but those who hope in Adonai will renew their strength,
they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings;
when they are running they won’t grow weary,
when they are walking they won’t get tired.

An image of an eagle flying over water and Isaiah 40:31 quoted in the Tree of Life Version

CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029.

Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.


  1. Glad to see someone addressing this instant gratification issue. Everything is throw away, replace. Have to have the latest and greatest. Root of many problems.

  2. I love this!! Esau was definitely hangry 😉

    And I absolutely agree – so often in life, instant gratification is immediately followed by regret. Good spiritual truth <3

  3. This is something I’m always trying to talk to my kids about. Not taking the time to think through the consequences or even what the best solution is rather than anything that comes to mind.

  4. “The problem with instant gratification is it often comes with regret. Once we get what we wanted we soon realize the extent of what we gave up to get it.” So true! That we would remember that.

  5. this is such a great read, with our culture of speed, we get caught up into the mentality of wanting everything RIGHT NOW without a thought on what we could be sacrificing to get that instant gratification. thanks for sharing this word.

  6. Diane, I enjoyed this post. We just went over this exact story of Jacob and Esau in Sunday School. It definitely makes us rethink the way that we look at things that we desire with our flesh, and what it may cost us. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. And I was just praying about a longing I’d really like to find a way to meet NOW. But God. Timely, sound message for me. Thank you!

  8. What a great post! Waiting can be difficult, but throwing away God’s best for a bowl of stew is folly. Oh, that I would have the fortitude to wait for His answers and direction! Your neighbor at Tune in Thursday, Tammy

  9. Thanks so much for this reminder, Dianne. We must walk in the Spirit and bring the flesh under subjection; and God helping us, we can.
    Blessings to you!

  10. Feelings….ah, feelings. There are so many times when we simply need to push past the fickleness of them and the falsity they wear. And funny enough, Diane, I hadn’t connected feelings with waiting/patience Sounds odd, right? But true. Love this post. I’ll be pinning it. #faithonfire

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