Links Daily Devotional

Making Ready

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD. (Proverbs 21:31, NIV)

Five-time PGA Tour champion, Mark Wilson, embodies the heart of Proverbs 21:31. While Mark played collegiate golf at UNC-Chapel Hill, I played for NC State, and it just so happened that we sat across the aisle from each other on a plane ride from Raleigh to Puerto Rico for a college tournament in the late 1990s. While most of the golfers from both teams spent their plane ride watching the in-flight movie, Mark diligently worked on his mathematics schoolwork.

In conversation with Mark, I found out that he brought an extra putter and driver to Puerto Rico just in case something happened, and he needed them. Mark also would carry his full rain gear and umbrella during every round of golf, tournament or not, so that he would be prepared for the inclement weather and so that his bag would not feel any heavier than normal.

The first part of Proverbs 21:31 states, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle.” If we were to place ourselves back roughly 3,000 years ago when this Proverb was written, how would we go about preparing our horse for battle? Obviously our life would be at stake regarding the performance of our horse in battle. Therefore, I imagine we would want to feed our horse the best food, make sure our horse was well rested, and train the horse for speed, agility, listening to the master’s commands and calmness during battle. We would do everything we could to prepare the horse for battle.

When I played professional golf, this verse would “fire me up” as I went to practice every day. “Preparing my horse for battle” meant that I was called by God to do everything I could to maximize my golf game. Preparedness for me included what I ate, how I slept, how I worked out, how I practiced…everything I did to prepare for tournament golf. The famous golf psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella, has made this same thought popular by encouraging players to “focus on the process.” If we chose a different profession, for example wealth management, the application of Proverbs 21:31 would include pursuing work diligently by studying the market, forecasting various trends, keeping up to date on the latest strategies…doing everything possible to maximize the client’s interests.

Ultimately though, “victory rests with the LORD,” which means that God is sovereign, in control, and responsible for the results. As believers, we are called by God to actively rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and power each day. We are called to work hard, be wise, make plans, and be diligent in whatever we do. Nonetheless, God will determine the outcomes of our efforts and lives. Sometimes this will please us, sometimes it will not, but ultimately we know that God’s will is better than ours and that he is sovereign, and we are not. Whatever the result, we know that God is working out all things according to his plan, and that we can trust God with the future.

Mark Wilson diligently worked on his schoolwork and his golf game while in college. He left no stone unturned. I venture to say that Mark was more prepared and more diligent than any other college golfer in his time. Mark was faithful with “preparing his horse for battle,” and the Lord has given him victory on the golf course. Eternal victory comes through trusting in Jesus Christ alone, independent of our works—there is no greater news than the gospel! Yet God left us here for a reason, and calls us to actively rely on the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to be diligent and faithful in the process of life, while resting in the knowledge that God is good, sovereign and in control.

Korky Kemp

February 20, 2012

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