Links Daily Devotional

Links Daily Devotional editor talks with Links Players president Jeffrey Cranford, an accomplished competitive PGA Professional, about balance in the golf swing and in life.

Know, Love, Serve – Part 1: Balance

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21, NIV)

The golf swing, as you’ll confirm in watching today’s accompanying video, is no quintessential example of irreducible complexity. Oh, that it were that simple!

No, the golf swing demands any combination of contortions. Yet when these are harnessed well, with foundations and rhythm and movement coalescing as they should, we can all recognize them in what we would call a beautiful swing. Major champions Ernie Els and Fred Couples certainly come to mind as paragons of fluidity and strength in the golf swing.

We might wonder—as those who love both golf and walk with Jesus—whether such an easy beauty is possible in our Christ-following life. Is it possible to take the many ideas and directives of Scripture and capture them in a way so that a life in Christ is as smooth as a gorgeous golf swing?

The answer to that question depends on several things. One of those is what condition your life was in when you started walking with Jesus. Many of us “have a history”—that is, we’ll be dealing with the earthly consequences of bad decisions and bad actions for as long as we live. But how we deal with those self-wrought difficulties now that we are led by the Spirit should look a lot different than it did before his indwelling us. We will increasingly speak with peace and reconciliation as our principal purposes, rather than personal gain and putting others in their place.

A second factor in whether our life in Christ will flow with ease has to do with the sovereignty of God. We are all subject to “trials of many kinds” for the testing of our faith (James 1:3). Again, our circumstances are no more guaranteed to look pretty than our lies on the course are. But when we walk closely with Jesus, we have an entirely different understanding of these trials and their purposes. We receive them as part of God’s full design and place our trust in him. Doing so reveals a dependence on Jesus that others see in us. We are not functioning in our own strength but in his, a difference that is attractive.

In the Christian life, this sort of fluidity is born in the balance among three aspects of following Jesus. We are to know him, love him, and serve him. The Lord told his disciples that they love him by obeying his commands, which can only be done when they know what those commands are. When we blend these three—knowing, loving, and serving—our life in Christ looks easy, not in a way that alleviates all our difficulties, but in a way that we handle them with the poise of courtiers of the One Great King, who carries us in his grace.

Jeff Hopper
February 17, 2014
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