Links Daily Devotional

Of Golf and Grit

On the day I called, You answered me: You made me bold with the strength in my soul. (Psalm 138:3, NASB) 

The more I think about the mental the game of golf, I realize that what separates a pro from an amateur might be the character traits we come up with when we define the word grit.

Grit is guts, resilience, tenacity, pluck, mettle, strength of character, mental toughness, nerve, determination, perseverance, endurance. Look carefully at those synonyms. Do any of these describe you?

Grit is what drove you to the practice tee when you didn’t feel like practicing.In her famous TED talk on grit, Angela Duckworth said: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

While you might hesitate to say you have grit, consider your golf history. Maybe you’ve overcome setbacks in a tournament that resulted in a win. Maybe you achieved a handicap goal that took years of work. Grit is what drove you to the practice tee when you didn’t feel like practicing. It’s what caused you to call a penalty on yourself when no one else was looking.

The Bible is full of examples of people who possessed grit.

Noah was all in, no matter the cost (Genesis 6)
Noah listened to God. Based on the account in Genesis, God spoke to him only once, and he built a ship on dry ground, waiting decades for it to rain. To others, his faith appeared foolish, but he was all in. To him, building that ark was an act of obedience to God.

John the Baptist was willing to take risks (Luke 3)
John called people to repent: to take stock of their lives, realize they were sinners, and turn to God. He eventually was thrown into jail and executed, but Jesus said, “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”

Gideon was sensitive to the voice of God (Judges 6-7)
Gideon asked God for a sign before acting. We might think that Gideon was wrong to do this, but the opposite is true. God was pleased with his faith and courage, his grit, and challenged Gideon to trust him.

The Bible says that Caleb had ‘a different spirit’ (Numbers 13)
Gritty Caleb followed God “wholeheartedly,” believing the Israelites could conquer the Promised Land against all odds. But the people listened to the other when they “told the people things that made them afraid…” Even though Caleb was an old man (85), he never faltered in his confidence in God and “quieted the people.” He inspired those younger to trust God and do what God called them to do. What an inspiration Caleb is to those of us that are older Links members.

No matter what adversity you are facing today, remember that as faith-filled believers we are called to be gritty people. Our faith becomes gritty when real life challenges our courage and stamina. We can find strength to carry on knowing that “by your patient endurance you will gain your (eternal) lives” (Luke 21:19).

Dave Gilbert
April 12, 2016
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