It has been said that “Impulsiveness is the breeding ground for regret.”
John Maxwell says, “Impulsiveness is the enemy of wise decision-making.”
Solomon says in Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
Impulsiveness ignores the bigger picture. It feasts its eyes on instant gratification and not long-term happiness. I’m either at the gym seven days a week or eating carbs seven days straight—there is no middle ground for me. I kick into habits with the blessed emotion of impulsiveness. It’s a great starter but a guaranteed failure in the long run.
This has carried over into my relationship with Christ, and from all the experiences of failure, I have come to learn that His ways are slow and sanctified. Why would He need to speed everything up? He holds time in His hands!
To enjoy the blessedness of a relationship with Jesus, one has to learn the methodical approach to faith. Suppose you are going to experience the euphoria of intimacy with Jesus. In that case, you must abandon all reckless commitments and empty vows for what you will do to change things and recommit to that two to four-mile-per-hour pace Jesus walked in. In his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer said, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”
There have been times when I’ve wanted to be so good and pleasing to my Lord that I would vow ridiculous things just to show Him how fast I could get to the place of holiness. I’ve changed patterns on the fly to prove to myself that I could do whatever I set my mind to, only to be standing in a puddle of regret a few days later. Our newly vowed spiritual disciplines have so much in common with our dieting, and just like we would for food, we recommit from a place of failure and then cast ourselves into guilt workouts.
When I talk with seasoned followers of Christ, I usually see a restfulness and an acceptance of limitations. When I speak to the younger generations, I typically see exhaustion from not measuring up, new commitments full of words birthed from failure, and a weary countenance from having to revisit the starting line once again. The older have already wasted their energy on being impulsive, and now they are satisfied with the low and slow method, whereas the young haven’t yet tasted and seen the bitter waters of impulsiveness.
Enjoying and delighting in Christ comes with the consistency of asking for Him. “If you are Emmanuel with me, then surely you are not absent from any scenario—so will you even now show me what you look like or let my ears hear what you are saying to me?”
This question has been one of the most effective remedies in my life. It’s not coming from an impulsive posture but from a sincere desire to enjoy Him. I’m out of the valley of striving. Not to say I will never go back for a visit, but for the most part, I have graduated from that younger lesson.
My extraordinary desires have mellowed out and have been replaced by dependancy. This is the work of Christ, not my doing. I believe more and more that Jesus has to walk you to the dirty wells and let you taste the unsatisfying water before you can truly appreciate the Living Water He offers from His own hands.
“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.” — My Utmost for His Highest: Updated Language Edition (A Daily Devotional with 366 Bible-Based Readings) by Oswald Chambers
Ordinary things yield us the sweetest fruit: Christ's character, Moses's countenance, and Joseph's wisdom. It’s a war out there to silence the thoughts of impulsiveness, and the weapon that has proven itself repeatedly is steadfastness. Day after day, yielding will give you a harvest of delight. Make it your highest goal to hear the voice of God and see His wonderful presence in your already scheduled day. Before you change anything, recommitment to anything, or vow anything—stop and ask Him to reveal His voice to you. Once you hear His voice, it will create in you such a Holy passion that you will stop striving to finish your impulsive list and label the new one, “Just hear Him.”
Pray this: “If you are Emmanuel, God with me, then surely You are not absent from this moment. Would You show me who You are and let me hear what You have to say?”
After that prayer, let your mind go free in the boundaries of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be too concerned with any wild thoughts you may have—He will wrangle them in and guide you to what is Him and what is not.
Josh Bramos is the Worship Pastor at CityRev Church in Pembroke Pines, Florida. He is a songwriter, worship leader/pastor, and founder of Village Hymns. He is passionate about connecting people to Christ through worship and community. He and his wife, Mackenzie, live in South Florida with their four children.