Links Daily Devotional

God and Good Fear

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7, NLT)

The Southern California Golf Association, which oversees golf in the region where I live, has begun its annual team play competition here in Southern California. For the next six to seven weeks, golfers will compete in the most intensive competition of the year among clubs, private and public.

In our Links Fellowships I hear golfers share about their experiences on and off the golf course—how new relationships are created and disciples of Jesus are developed. Links Players frequently tell of their positive experience of being in a Links Fellowship. I love it!

But when it comes to these team play matches, the conversation is very different. Grown men are reduced to fear-filled competitors. They dread hitting a shot astray or missing a two- or three-foot putt. They talk of nerves firing like crazy, generating a feeling you never experience on the driving range, the practice putting green, or in a casual Saturday game.

Does walking with Jesus really provide such a peaceful difference? It does if we remember to fear God above all other things.

Links Players Ben Crane and Stewart Cink recently spoke about his fear on the golf course at an outreach breakfast in San Diego. Ben shared that a number of years ago when he was a young player on the PGA Tour, he had called his friend and mentor Stewart Cink. Ben shared with Stewart the fears he was struggling with on the golf course. Yep, whether you’re a PGA professional or an amateur golfer, you’ll have these fears to face on the golf course. Stewart told Ben not to fear the outcome, because it does not define a man of God. With that wisdom, it wasn’t long before Ben headed to victory in Atlanta, where he played the final round with—you guessed it—Stewart Cink!

What Ben and Stewart shared with the audience in San Diego two weeks ago delivered great wisdom for all of us. Win or lose, you are still a child of God, who loves you unconditionally.

So what do we best fear? God himself—not in a dread-filled sort of way, but in a respectful sort of way, the same as we would fear the power under the hood if we suddenly found ourselves behind the wheel at a NASCAR race. I’m guessing you wouldn’t walk away from an opportunity like that, but you’d be shaking in your racer’s boots!

God deserves this same kind of awe-filled respect. When we gain that perspective—fearing the all-knowing, all-powerful God, all-loving God—we land in the place where wisdom is rightly employed: under the rule of the Eternal King. We lean on him, trust in him, and take our every lead from him. That’s a whole lot better than doing things in our own wisdom!

And here’s the full circle: When we come under God’s power and provision like this, we find a peace not in our ability or identity, but in the work and person of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We will make mistakes, but we don’t have to fear them. We may face disappointment and criticism, just like a golfer who lets his team down. But these troubling hours do not crush us, because we are first in God’s arms, and to his great care we return. And doing that is our own best wisdom.

Dereck Wong

February 8, 2012

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