Links Daily Devotional

Following the Rules

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NIV)

The Rules of Golf are an important part of the game. Over the years a large number of rules have remained the same, but others have been changed or even discarded. I find it interesting that there are two different governing bodies that determine the Rules of Golf. The USGA oversees North America and the R&A (Royal & Ancient) covers the rest of the world.

As a competitive golfer, I have respected and honored the rules in all my competitive rounds, even to the point of calling a penalty on myself. However, I will gladly bend the rules or create new ones when enjoying a fun round with friends.

The Bible is God’s rulebook; and although there are many different translations, it is the inspired Word of God that remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Every page reveals how much God loves us. Through the 10 Commandments (and others) God gave us instructions for life, the Psalms and Proverbs teach us dependence and wisdom, Jesus leads us to repentance and eternal life, and the apostles encourage us to persevere.

 

God desires to be in relationship with us so much that he willingly sacrificed his Son to pay the penalty for our sins. One way we can show our love in return is through obeying his rulebook. The obedience I’m suggesting is not forced or coerced; rather it’s a grateful response to what we have been given – his love and forgiveness. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:5). God loves our obedience because it brings us into relationship with him. I believe Ray Vander Laan, founder of That The World May Know Ministries, says it well: “Obedience is God’s love language.”

Our obedience also impacts our spiritual growth. We need to have knowledge of God’s Word, but knowledge without obedience is useless. God will bless us in spite of our failures, but the overflow of his blessings comes as we grow in our obedience. As we receive the overflow, then we can be a blessing to others.

Sometimes obedience is hard and it feels easier not to follow God’s instructions. In today’s passage, Jesus’ words seem filled with sadness as he questioned why his followers called him Lord but did not do what he had taught them. Jesus understands our struggles and he knows the blessings we are missing when we don’t follow his teachings.

Jesus summed up God’s rulebook with this: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Golf is just a game and outside of competition, it’s OK to break the rules. God’s rules, on the other hand, are set for our eternal benefit. Our obedience to his instructions draws us closer to him and gives us the opportunity to be the extension of his love to others.

Tracy Hanson

May 30, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday and is archived by passage and topic at www.linksplayers.com.