Links Daily Devotional

Hating Our Sin

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:14-15, ESV)

If you are like most golfers I know, you love birdies. You would like to make more of them, and when you do make one all kinds of honors are yours. You will beat par on that hole, you will probably beat your opponent on that hole, and in almost all situations you will get the honors on the next hole. “Oh no,” your partners will say, “we’re not teeing off in front of a birdie!”

On the other side of par lurks something we call bogey. Most golfers make more bogeys than birdies, and perhaps because of that—or because we all start as “not-so-good” golfers—we are fairly tolerant of bogeys and don’t say much about them. Depending on your skill level you might even have a double-bogey or two in almost every round, and those make a regular bogey seem not so bad.

But if you want to improve your scoring average and your game, you must learn to hate bogeys. In fact, you should hate bogeys more than you love birdies, and you should do everything in your power to eradicate them altogether. You won’t, of course, because even the very best players in the world average about one bogey for every 1.5 birdies. This year Bubba Watson is currently at an astounding ratio of two birdies for every one bogey, but then again his handicap is nearly plus-8.

What do you suppose Paul’s ratio of “doing good” to sinning was, based on the verses above? What is mine? The challenge in life is like that in golf—we love birdies more than we hate bogeys, so we don’t keep very good track of the bogeys. We don’t keep very good track of our sins, either, but we love to keep track of (and we especially love for others to keep track of) all the good we do.

Paul acknowledged to the Romans that he was a slave to sin and that he found himself doing, instead of what he intended to do, the very thing he hated. I’d like to suggest that we make an effort to learn to hate the sins we commit. As we do so, we will learn to focus better on what we are doing in real time and perhaps we will sin less and do the thing we want to do more often.

At the end of a round you will know that your game is improving if you have fewer squares (bogeys) on your scorecard than you used to have. And at the end of each day you will know that you are growing spiritually if you have fewer squares in your actions. May we hate the squares on our cards, and may we hate them even more in our lives.

Lewis Greer
May 8, 2014
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