Links Daily Devotional

In the Fire

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Jesus, in John 16:33, ESV)

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)

Most of my golf as an adult has been “social.” I might play a friend to see who buys drinks, but I have stayed away from tournament play. On the opposite side of that coin is my friend Tom Flory, co-founder of Links Players. He shared with me recently that he started playing golf when he was 10, was soon in a club tournament (match play, where he defeated some adults), and from that time on golf for him has been all about tournaments.

In life the challenges are greater and far more serious, and so are the consequences.Tournament golf and social golf are different animals, to be sure. Bobby Jones once described the differences by saying that social golf was like a walk in the park, tournament golf was like a walk on a tightrope, and major tournament golf was when they took away the net. So I asked Tom to tell me about “playing for serious,” as we called it when I was a kid.

He said he thought tournament golf was all about overcoming adversity. How do you feel when you get a bad bounce on a good shot? How do you respond when you draw a mean opponent? What do you do when your putter has been possessed by an alien whose mission is to drive you crazy? Once again, golf imitates life—I had a boss once who I’m pretty sure was possessed by an alien.

If you are going to play golf, especially tournament golf, you will face adversity. If you are going to live, especially if you are going to live as a follower of Jesus, you will face adversity. The question in both cases is this: how do you overcome?

In golf it takes practice, and the best place to practice taking the heat is in the fire. You play, you fail, you want to quit the round and even the game but you don’t, and you play again. You fail less. You play again and again, and one day you overcome more than you fail. Soon you are an overcomer, and adversity, once a scary giant, is now an annoying gnat.

In life the challenges are greater and far more serious, and so are the consequences. No amount of experience really prepares you for the death of a child or a sibling or a spouse, and you don’t practice getting fired or getting sick. The only way to overcome the adversity of the world is through Jesus, the original overcomer. In him, and through faith, we also overcome the world.

Adversity in golf may steal a tournament win from you, but through faith in Jesus victory in life is yours. You are an overcomer.

Lewis Greer
April 13, 2016
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