Links Daily Devotional

For All to See

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

I have spectated at several college golf tournaments in recent years, and I can assure you that week in and week out these young players toil in obscurity.

OK, we can contest whether playing golf is ever really “toiling,” but the obscurity aspect holds true. A mom or a dad, a coach, maybe a junior golfer or two. When the galleries swell, they might reach 10 or 15 for the top players on each team.

So I found the NCAA Championships, with the men’s and women’s events televised over the past couple of weeks from the Concession Club in Florida, to be fascinating on a couple of levels.

Sure, there was the competition. But there was also the realization that these players, right down to the fourth and fifth players in the lineup, were making pressure swings with TV cameras only yards behind them. They couldn’t hear the running commentary, but they knew their play was being shown live to anyone who wanted to watch.

That’s quite a step up!

We might go on to ask ourselves how we would do in such a situation. Could we pull off the shots as we do in our casual rounds with friends? Could we keep our emotions in check and our adrenaline from running wild?

And then let’s take it a step further. What if our lives were on display? What if the way we lived was being watched by others? Could we ever say with Paul, “If you saw me do it, you do the same; if you heard me say it, you say the same”?

You might backpedal at this suggestion. After all, Paul was an apostle. He had an unforgettable encounter with Jesus and was called to ministry. Of course his righteousness was outstanding.

Except for this: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15) Paul wrote that. And this: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).

Paul may have been pursuing Christ righteously, but he was certainly still sinning. In fact, the only way his words to the Philippians make sense is if we recognize that in the midst of his modeling righteous discipleship, he modeled humility and contrition and repentance.

How will you live your life before others? If you only think of it in terms of law-abiding P’s and Q’s, you’ll live it quite imperfectly. You certainly won’t say to others, “Do as I do and speak as I speak.” But if you live your life calling on the forgiveness and grace of the Lord Jesus, humble before him and others, your example will stand out, even under great pressure and scrutiny.

Jeff Hopper
June 8, 2015
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