Links Daily Devotional

Hot Pursuit

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NASB)

In recent weeks, Links Players leaders Jeffrey Cranford and Jeff Hopper have been talking about what it means to be a Christian, setting much of their discussion in the midst of Revelation 3:16-17, where Jesus talked about being hot or cold, but never lukewarm. I don’t want to be lukewarm, do you? I want to be in hot pursuit of Jesus. So to be hot in pursuit, I plan to do more, perform better, and make larger sacrifices.

Then I remember that we are saved by grace and not by the hot pursuit of our own works. I pause and reflect in the truth that God wants a relationship and not just a performance. The performance will come when we fall more deeply in love with our Lord and Savior, because our performance is the response of a relationship.

In golf we want to be better players, so we spend time, money, and effort investing in our game. I recently played in a very competitive four-ball golf tournament. I looked back on all the time spent in playing golf for four straight days—the effort put forth, the frustration held in check, the time spent away from other pursuits. All of this in an effort to win a perishable wreath known as credit in the golf shop. We want to win and pursue the victory. We strive to perfect this fickle game so that we can be pleased with our effort. But look: God simply wants us to enjoy the process and give him the glory in the adventure.

Then I ran across this quote from a marvelous book I am reading by Jon Walker, entitled Breakfast with Bonhoeffer. Walker writes, “Bonhoeffer notes that the birds and the lilies glorify their Creator, not by their industry, toil or care, but by a daily unquestioning acceptance of his gifts.”  He then adds this: “You need to become like these little children. Do you see that their joy comes from living in the moment? You can have that joy when you stop thinking you must be in control and instead trust that he is in control.”

Did you get that? “Unquestioning acceptance of his gifts.” “Joy comes from living in the moment.” We are not in control. He is. Our life is simply lived in response to a loving God and accepting his gifts cheerfully like little children who naturally trust their father.

The Christian life is not a battle to be won or a life to be endured or a list of things we have done so others will think more highly of us. It is a life of getting to know our Lord and Savior first and foremost and joyfully giving back to him because we are beginning to understand all that he has given to us. A life lived for Christ is lived in response, not initiative. And the proper response is hot pursuit.

Today’s verse is my bit of instruction for you in how we do this pursuing. I have started to mark my golf balls with RPT: “Rejoice. Pray. Thank God.” It’s a little reminder of a big truth, so big that when I do these things I can be certain that I am doing “God’s will for [me] in Christ Jesus.”

Randy Wolff
December 5, 2013
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