Links Daily Devotional

Our Hidden Selves

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” (1 Chronicles 29:17, NIV)

Golf is a game unique in how its rules are applied. Each player is expected to know the rules and if the player either intentionally or unintentionally disobeys a rule, she is required to call a penalty on herself.

Nobody can escape the probing eye of God. He sees our heart and knows exactly what we are.With the modern-day application of close-up television cameras, we have seen some pretty interesting examples of rule infractions. There no longer appears to be any way to get away with making a mistake that will not come to light—at least for professional golfers. The rest of us don’t play with a camera focused on our ball, so we approach the game with its original intent. We have to apply the rules to ourselves and accept a penalty if we commit an infraction. Golf at its very heart is a game that requires integrity. We are required to admit and accept when we have fallen short, even if no one else sees our action.

We would all like to be judged by the external life we project to the world around us. We want to be thought of as good, honest, and caring people, so we put as good a face on our actions as we can. We want to have a good reputation.

The real test of our integrity and character occurs in those moments when no human being is watching. Will we call that penalty on ourselves if no one else saw the infraction? Will we be honest when the only benefit to us is not a benefit at all but a penalty that might cost us the win?

The truth is that, alone and away from the world, we all must face up to the fact that we are less than perfect. None of us are as loving, kind, or generous as we might project to the world around us. We fudge on the truth sometimes if we can get away with it. We secretly envy someone who is more successful than we are. No matter how good and successful we seem to the world we live in, we fall short of that ideal we so desperately want to exhibit to other people.

That’s why we need a Savior. We all fall short. Nobody can escape the probing eye of God. He sees our heart and knows exactly what we are. The most fantastic thing about God is that he accepts us with all of our faults. He loves us so much that he died for us. He paid the price for our less than perfect lives and has given us his perfection if we will receive it.

We think we live our lives before men but the only real audience we need to please is the God of heaven who searches our hearts every day. He sees everything we do and exactly who we are. We can run but we can’t hide. So we do best to run instead into his freely given grace and mercy, finding the forgiveness and hope and integrity only he can create in us. Without him we can do nothing of value, but with him we can do all things, not through our strength or personal integrity but through his unfailing power in us.

Linda Ballard
October 6, 2016
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