by Peter Brain
Lessons from a golfer - Pt 5
Let me share the final installment of my 18 thoughts on golf and life – one for each hole (and one for the 19th hole!), in the hope that they might help you.
- A friend of mine dropped the line "my second cousin is Jack Nicklaus!" He quietly added, "And it has not helped my golf one little bit." People sometimes think I will be OK when I die because my mother was a Sunday school teacher or my cousin is a preacher. If my friend played golf with Jack Nicklaus it would not make him a top golfer, though, if he was humble enough to ask for help he would probably pick up some helpful hints. Every person must prepare to meet God for him/herself. Others can help us understand but we must be humble enough to ask Jesus for forgiveness.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? ... And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9,11
- But what is sin? Does it matter? Let's liken it to the par three 18th with a carry across gully and creek, deep bunkers on both sides and scrub through the green. You are one over for the round. Does it matter if your shot falls short into the creek, slices or hooks into the deep sand bunkers or goes too far into the scrub? Of course it does, since you wanted to birdie the hole and play your first ever par round. Sin is where we fall short of God's standards, deviate from the way that pleases Him or go too far in our dealings with others. But we all do! That is why it is good to know that Jesus has played the perfect round.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. ... For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24
- Imagine for a moment that you are walking to that 18th green your friend whose tee shot is just a few centimetres from the pin tells you that he will play your shot from the bunker and you can putt his ball. We all know that in golf it cannot be done – in fact you would both incur a penalty. But in life, the One who makes the rules says that this is the only way it can be done. When God the Son came He became the penalty for our sin when He died on the cross. The sacrifice He made was for us. His death is like a cheque made out to our account, but we need to deposit it if it is to be of any value to us. We can become His friends and He our partner on the fairways and hazards of life when we are humble enough to say to God:
1) Yes I need forgiveness, 2) I am sorry for my sin, 3) Thank you taking the penalty for me and, 4) I will let you call the shots from here on in.
Then when we have to face God, He will accept Jesus' perfect score card in place of ours. My wife tells me that "golf is a good walk spoilt!" At the end of the day, golf does not matter, it is a matter of choice and preference. But a life lived with Jesus as Lord will never be spoilt. There is nothing surer than that.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
- What's next?
- Read the Bible. This is the best way to get to know God. It is full of wise advice and the rules to live by.
- Talk to your new Lord, Friend and Saviour about your life (pray).
- Join a church and find some partners who will help you play the game of life. Church is like the practice green or taking lessons. It is not the main game but it will help you play consistently.
- Tell your friends about your new Partner.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
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