Links Daily Devotional

Read Your Bible

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalms 119:105, NIV)

Though I had just spent my previous four years in college only playing a few recreational rounds of golf each year and absolutely no competitive golf, I could not miss the opportunity to enter and attempt to qualify for the 2001 U.S. Amateur being played in my hometown of Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club.

So only having played a couple rounds of golf that summer and hitting range balls on a few other occasions, I showed up with little hope and even lower expectations. I remember getting off to a nearly flawless start, being five-under through 11 or 12 holes, and ultimately shooting a 69 in the first round of this 36-hole qualifier. Completely unprepared, I found myself in a very uncomfortable position, yet strangely right where I wanted to be—tied for the lead and being interviewed by a miffed local sportswriter fishing for my golf credentials.

For several hours I conjured up dreams of winning the U.S. Am and playing in the Masters the next year. About the only thing I had not decided overnight was how long thereafter I would wait to turn professional to take the PGA TOUR by storm much like I had the field in this sectional qualifier!

I wish I could now tell you about how I followed up my first round with another 69 in the second round. Well, my score did end with a nine, but it was a 79—the result that most people would expect from someone who had not invested any time over the previous four years into becoming a better player.

Whether you’re laughing with me or at me, many of you can identify with how your expectations often do not match up with the time you put into things. My golf example is lighthearted and came with no consequences; however, failing to meet the expectations we establish for important relationships comes with a much higher price. We may want to be great parents, but we know we will not be if we spend every evening at the office or weekend on the golf course during their developmental years. To have a healthy relationship with our spouse, we know we must invest in them in many ways, but nothing can replace quality time. Finally, I’m certain not a single one of you lacks desire to know God better and be close to him. So why aren’t you reading your Bible? (And no, the verses at the top of these devotionals don’t count!)

Just like you cannot expect to get closer to your spouse or children by only hearing stories of others’ relationships or advice from “experts,” neither will you grow very much in your relationship with God by reading only these devotions or books by Christian authors or going to church on Sunday or attending a Links Fellowship. Insight from others helps, but nothing can replace the quality time you spend alone with your heavenly Father. Possibly God’s greatest miracle is how he gave his Word to mankind, so that we may experience him in a personal way and get to know him better every time we open it up.

Our faith and relationship with God is similar to our golf games in this regard. Without time spent and invested in it, there’s very little substance in your relationships that will hold up under pressure and be sustained throughout life’s ups and downs.

Here are some signs that I’m not spending enough time in God’s Word:

– I tend to magnify the weaknesses in others and overlook my own

– I tend to evaluate the world as if this is all there is

– I tend to hold onto my possessions more tightly

– I tend to hold onto my anger

Can you relate? If so, read your Bible! You’ll never regret spending more time in God’s Word.

Josh Nelson

July 23, 2013

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