Links Daily Devotional

Down and Up

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5, ESV)

There is no novelty in saying that golf can be a frustrating game. But why is that? Why do some naturally talented athletes in other sports find it so difficult to master the game? I think part of the answer has to do with some of the counterintuitive components of the game.

For example, chipping and pitching are comprised of some of the most difficult and intricate skills to develop. One of the main problems golfers of all levels have with the little wedge game is the concept that one must hit downward for the ball to lift up into the air. Our natural instinct is to help the ball up with our own hands to its desired trajectory instead of trusting the club to do the work. By doing so, we inadvertently “scoop” at the ball, often scooping a lot more earth than desired, resulting in the dreaded chunk shot, or sometimes scooping altogether above ground, resulting in the equally dreaded skull shot. It seems unnatural and illogical to expect the ball to rise upwards from a downward blow. But this is golf physics; that is how golf works.

“Kingdom physics” likewise requires trust and renewed thinking. It was altogether illogical that the Holy One of God, wholly blameless, would “become sin,” and would bear the wrath of God in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). It was unnatural for the Son of God to die, and to be raised up from the tomb three days later. And it is altogether ridiculous that he would do this for ungodly sinners (Romans 5:6-8). Yet this is what happened. The resurrection, as irrational as it may seem, stands as the most reasonable explanation for the events that occurred in the first century. It is hard to believe, but this is kingdom physics; that is how God works!

The Scriptures reveal to us a different world. In them we read that “what is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:42b), “the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16), and Jesus says “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:35b).

Losing our lives? Doesn’t this go completely against our survival instincts? Against our desire not only to survive, but to thrive above everyone and anyone? Isn’t this imperative too much to ask? You may be thinking it’s not about physical life and comforts, but the martyrs would disagree. You may say it’s only spiritual, but your emotions and your will would disagree. We don’t handle being humbled very well; we all have a breaking point where that ugly pride rises up. There is a real unwillingness in us to go all the way down there—we all scoop at it. Some of us “chunk” it by rebelling against God and some of us “top” it trying to humble ourselves with the secret motivation of our own exaltation and not Christ’s exaltation.

Is there then any hope for us? Today’s passage brings a sure way to mind. It centers us in the trajectory of Christ, and how, when united with him, we are certainly transported all the way down and risen all the way up. A good example might inspire us to great efforts, but a Savior brings us to worship and trust in him. A Savior loosens the chains of pride and unbelief. A Savior takes us beyond our breaking point.

With the pitch shot, the loft of the wedge is reliable to get the ball in the air. In the same way, Christ’s atoning work is trustworthy for our resurrection—he is holy and lofty enough to cover and raise you and your sinful nature into eternal life. Praise God for his kingdom physics!

Isabelle Beisiegel
May 22, 2014
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