Links Daily Devotional

Side Effects

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8, NASB)

Have you ever made a change to your golf game—swing, putting, chipping—and had your game suffer for it? Yeah, me too.

Because of that, we can relate in some small way to professionals who make swing changes and suddenly fall off the map; we pull for them to make a comeback because maybe then we can too.

One player who is now on the upswing is Derek Ernst, who is featured in the 2015 Links Players magazine. He won on the PGA Tour then decided that he needed to improve in order to stay on the Tour longer. He chose to make those changes while he had a two-year exemption because he knew the side effects could be a challenge. And they were.

The same phenomenon often happens with our physical health. If you don’t know that medicines can have side effects, you haven’t watched TV in a long time. It makes you wonder why anyone would ever take a pill.

Of course they do it for the same reason that we make changes to our golf swings: because the goodness of the effect is greater than the badness of the side effects.

I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed chemotherapy, but the side effects are small compared to the effect of being cancer free. Most people don’t like the pain and discipline of an intense workout program, but the effect of being in shape is greater. Or is it? Many people I know have avoided getting in shape because they have not concluded that the effect is worth the side effects.

When it comes to matters of faith, the same principle holds true. There are many who are unwilling to accept Christ as their Savior and become followers of Jesus because they are dissuaded by the side effects. Following Jesus, they reason, will cause them to have to give up things, whether those are lifestyles, choices, friends, or beliefs. They do not accept that the effect is greater than that.

Paul was dealing with side effects when he wrote to the Philippians. He was under arrest for his faith. Did he say that these side effects were too painful and the effect unworthy? To the contrary, he essentially said that everything other than knowing Christ was rubbish, and Paul included his own stellar career on that list.

You see, side effects can be used as a weapon by Satan not just with those making an initial decision for Jesus, but even after we are followers. That didn’t work with Paul, and it shouldn’t work with you.

So change your swing or don’t, get a flu shot or don’t, work out or don’t, but never let side effects be the driving force in your decisions about Jesus. The effect is always greater.

Lewis Greer
October 12, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
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