Links Daily Devotional

The One Plane

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other… (Galatians 5:17-18, NIV)

Last week, I had the pleasure of sharing lunch and a podium with Jim Hardy. If you’ve followed the trajectory of golf instruction in recent years, you’ll recognize Hardy as the “The Plane Truth” guy.

In essence, Hardy came to an understanding that two paths of teaching were being lumped into one container. On one end of the range, so to speak, you have golfers who are “two-planers”—that is, their bodies follow one plane, while their arms follow a second plane. On the end, you have those golfers who are “one-planers”—that is, their bodies and arms swing on the same basic plane. But for too many years, golf instructors spoke the usual varied axioms into the swings of all these players. The trouble is, it was never possible for all these bits of instruction to apply to players whose swings were fundamentally different.

The life of every human being may take one of two courses, as well. Some live according to the flesh; the rest live according to the Spirit of God. And for one of these people to borrow wisdom from the other just won’t make sense. A man sold out to his fleshly desires doesn’t want to hear what God is saying, and a woman whose life is in Christ is doing all she can to turn aside from what her flesh is telling her to do.

The seventeenth-century Christian writer Henry Scougal put it this way: “The love of the world and the love of God are like the scales of a balance; as the one falleth, the other doth rise.”

As we grow in our faith, maturing in Jesus, we should find ourselves increasingly disturbed by the old wisdom that governed our lives before we were in Jesus. In the same way a “one-planer” needs to shed a lot of golf’s traditional teaching because it was meant for “two-planers,” we who have been born again (this time in the Spirit) should find ourselves desirous of a fresh take on all life’s matters. Our minds, you’ll recall, are to be ever in the process of renewing (Romans 12:2), and our very selves are to be ever in the process of receiving the Spirit’s filling (Ephesians 5:18).

This is not an easy way to live. It requires the attention and diligence of a soldier—as well it should, for Scripture describes the conflict between flesh and Spirit as a battle. Scougal wrote that we must “convince ourselves of the emptiness and vanity of creature-enjoyments, and reason our heart out of love with them.” This means work. If a swing change is hard (and we know it is), then a life change will be harder. But the outcome of a life turned over to Spirit-living carries the promise of rewards far greater than we will ever extract from a sweet golf swing or any other earth-bound gain. A life lived in the Spirit is a life lived on the one plane that brings eternal blessing.

Jeff Hopper

November 14, 2011

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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday at www.linksplayers.com.