Fore the love of the game...
I’m a relative late comer to the game of golf. I never even held a club in my hand until about 10 years ago. Since then however, I have grown to love the game and cherish the opportunities I get to head out for a round. I think one of the big reasons that I love to play golf is the wonderful (and sometimes treacherous) mix of simplicity and complexity.
Just think for a moment, golf is simple - hit the little, white, stationary ball into the hole with as few strokes as possible. Easy, right? But then, I stand on the tee box, prepare to hit the ball, and I’m not thinking one bit about the simplicity of that act. I’m thinking, “don’t hook it into the trees, don’t top it, be careful of the water, don’t forget to turn, nice and easy”… and finally as my club nears the top of my backswing, all I think despite my best efforts to the contrary, is “smash it.” Surely, I can’t be the only one…
And it got me thinking, as I played a round last week. I found myself lost in the conversation, enjoying every moment, and not thinking nearly at all about how to hit the ball. I was lost in the joy of the company, and in the simplicity of the game. Just get the ball in the hole.
It made me think about my Christian walk. I wonder how many times I find myself concerned about things that take away from the joy of relationship with Jesus Christ? How often do I find myself just enjoying the company of Christ, focusing on the one thing that matters: recognizing and embracing God’s love through relationship with Jesus Christ.
In his first letter, John describes the simplicity of the Gospel quite well. 1 John 4:9-12 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (NIV).
Sometimes I think as Christians, we focus on things that may or may not matter. Sometimes we are overloaded with concern, questions, theoretical and real situations, and as a result, we begin to bring unnecessary complexity into our understanding of God’s love, and our calling as a Christian in a fallen world.
Just like being on the course, sometimes we are so worried about this thing or that situation, that living the Christian life becomes a chore. Friends, that’s not what God desires for His people. We have been set free from that kind of life! And when we recognize that truth, our lives begin to change. We begin to live with divinely informed simplicity; with joy and peace that passes all understanding regardless of the situation we may face.
Romans 5:1-2; 21 - “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (NLT).
And so, if your faith has been wavering as you have been questioning yourself and God in the difficulties of life, seek to simplify. Just like how the object of golf is getting the ball in the hole, the Christian life as all about recognizing and living out God’s love. I know from personal experience that life (and golf) have more meaning when it’s rooted in relationship.
Until then, I’ll be in the trees, looking for my ball….