Links Daily Devotional

Belief and Beyond

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he sent.” (John 6:28-29, ESV)

We are a culture that runs from one event to another, barely present at any of them. It was just five days ago that we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, and yet it feels like a distant memory as the calendar moves us along. Our daily routines numb our curiosity and Siri provides instant gratification to most of our questions. For the golf fan extraordinaire, the end of the Easter season means full throttle ahead in anticipation of the next big event—the Masters, the most esteemed week on the tournament schedule.

Conversations about how players are choosing their schedules and working on specific preparations for the Masters have been ongoing for months. Swing instructors, trainers, sports psychologists, and agents all weigh in on the decision making. Hundreds of repetitions. Pushing weights. Visualizing and focusing. Sponsor days and pro-ams. Eat, sleep, and repeat. Being a professional golfer on a world stage is hard work.

Doing is easier than being, and doesn’t it feel much more satisfying?Tour life brings high expenses, daily pressures, and no guaranteed paychecks. All of these variables make a player wonder whether all the work and sacrifice will be enough. Even though I am several years removed from my competitive days on the LPGA Tour, my body remembers the compression in my chest and flushed face as I struggled with my own doubts every day. Have I worked hard enough? Am I strong enough? Do I have what it takes?

I worked hard to prove my love and allegiance to Jesus too. I was really good at hiding behind the Christian Professional Athlete mask. I shared my testimony, or at least the cleaned up version, when opportunities arose. I worked on my anger and impatience on the course. I attended the weekly fellowships. I thanked God for my failures and successes. And I used my performance to numb the shame I felt from secrets held captive from my childhood.

Working hard was a way of survival for me. I tended to always be focused on what was next at a great cost to my heart and living into my potential. I was like the crowd following Jesus wanting to know and do the works of God. A sincere desire but one that speaks of our need to feel significant in our lives and in our relationship with God.

It’s just like Jesus to throw a curveball. I imagine the crowd grew silent in anticipation of a list of good works they could comply with. Doing is easier than being, and doesn’t it feel much more satisfying?

Revealing the truth about working hard to earn love and approval has been both unnerving and freeing for me. It has exposed my shame and has allowed Jesus to be the lifter of my face where his kind eyes meet mine and I ask, “Do I believe? Do I believe in his love? Do I believe in his goodness? Do I believe when everything around me feels like chaos?”

The enemy of our soul will use doing the works of God as a way to numb our hearts. We must stay steadfast and remember that faith begins by believing. We must remain mindful that we believe that Jesus died, we believe he walked through the valley of death, and we believe he rose from the dead. [BE]lieve, to put in trust with, is where we first find rest in our Savior. The by-product is the good works of God that will flow freely through us.

Tracy Hanson
March 31, 2016
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