I love to play and watch golf and for years one of my favorite golfers was Gary Player. He played with other legends of years back like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Sam Snead back in the 50’s,60’s, and 70’s. He was always known for wearing all black clothes while playing. One of the great life lessons I learned was from him.
A sportscaster once asked him about his great success on the golf course and what effect luck had to do with. His reply stuck with me ever since. He said succinctly: “The more I practice, the luckier I get”. No, this isn’t to stake a claim for the “Golf is Life” philosophy, a tragic heresy in idolatry that keeps many churches half filled on Sunday. This is to draw a parallel between what Player said and what our relationship with our loving God should always be.
I talk to many people in my church every service. Many live lives that are pressured, harried, unpleasant in many ways and leave them feeling hopeless, tired, and not blessed. It is a tragedy! They attend service as often as I do but they just don’t seem to have the benefits of a covenant with The Lord that I and my family enjoy. Sometimes I volunteer time to pray and counsel with those less fortunate than me at our church’s food pantry and they face many of these same pressures.
When I pray and talk with these folks, I usually remind them of what I have come to know by my own experience, especially since recommitting my life to Christ four and a half years ago: Daily prayer (A.C.T.S.-Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication); Daily & directed scripture reading; and Fellowship with like-minded believers as often as possible. Why? Well here comes the practice part of our covenant relationship, so get ready!
James 4:8 reminds us of our contract with God when he writes, “Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. Clean your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts, you double-minded”. It is all so simple but we make our lives complicated and difficult when we step out of God’s laser light of His will and try to do things in our own strength.
The first mistake I think we often make (I know from experience) is when we are living in God’s will and then venture out on our own by setting priorities that aren’t consistent with our covenant relationship with God, through His son Jesus Christ. For some of us it’s golf, but it could be anything: Work, TV, gaming, texting, Facebook, or whatever that thing is that takes us away from the three things that are the practices most important to building our relationship with The Lord!
Paul said it best in Galatians 6:7-“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. This is the downside of our contract. The penalty clause for breaking our end of the deal and most often the thing that brings tragedy, pain, and regret to a life that The Lord wishes to be abundant and joyful for all of His children.
I’ve been trying to keep my posts a little shorter and will build on this theme another time. As a memory tool, I encourage you to remember the Mercedes Benz approach (3 pronged round symbol)-Daily Prayer, Daily Reading of God’s Word (our contract and the manual of life), and fellowship with other believers often.
Let me know how it works for you, too. Galatians 5:22-23 is a good way to tell if you feel life is getting back under God’s merciful and loving control again. It says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.