Never Settle For Less – Dangers of Instant Gratification

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As believers, we should never settle for less than God’s perfect will for us. Easier said than done, I know. We all love instant gratification, don’t we? We want things right now! Our society is one that has grown accustomed to accessing 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 instant 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!

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Post updated and republished from 8/6/2020 and 11/2/2018

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.”


The Bible tells us that Esau was a very skilled hunter and a man of the field and Jacob, well Genesis 25: 27 tells usir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=aa4ca27a17122f1dd183a93e1c26f56c& cb=1546881995968

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


One day, Esau comes back from a hunting trip and he is tired and hungry! He spots some stew that Jacob had made and he asks for a bowl.  Genesis 25:30:ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=ff5f163aedae5b68e69bb6df4a004d0f& cb=1546882039934

“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.”


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 being 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.”


Instantaneous Gratification in a Bowl of Red Stew

Seems a steep price to pay for a bowl of stew, doesn’t it? A birthright for one meal?ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=f8da52b6f7195e31221ae4e55549688d& cb=1546882056402

But rather than Esau telling his brother to go pound sand and running in to see Mom for a sandwich, Esau says, in Genesis 25:32:ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=53e27e12e6a98d47173e506607580305& cb=1546882199298ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=3086eb3af887c1cbe4f1711917f664b3& cb=1546882067450

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


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

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

Oh, it may have felt that way! I have been pretty hangry before and it can definitely feel that way!ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=833dcc715ba2ff08e2b1bc1e57b17738& cb=1546882175427

But keep in mind, 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 Bible 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! Desire in Hebrew is the word ratzon and ratzon can be fleeting. You could feel it one day and the next day not. It is like the desire to grow close to God…ratzon. We feel connected to God one day but the next, we feel distant.

But it is merely a feeling or desire and those sway like the wind.

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 bowl of 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=0e16f963d71f73e137a5a9a7365f4586& cb=1546882130642

He allowed his temporary physical discomfort to distort his sense of need. Never settle for less based on feelings of the flesh!

He allowed his flesh to make a decision that would alter the rest of 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.

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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. Never settle for less than God’s best!

Esau, I am sure, likely ate his stew and, as soon as his need was met 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!

Regret seems a steep price to pay to satisfy our flesh in the moment. Click To Tweet

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? Never settle for less than what He has for you!

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

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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. 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!

  2. So very true! I can think of a few times off the top of my head when I gave way to instant gratification. Didn’t go well lol.

  3. This is the third thing I have stumbled across this morning about patience and waiting and God’s timing. I love when the Lord “speaks” to me this way.

  4. 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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