Links Daily Devotional

Don’t Hold Back

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37, NIV)

Watching the third round of the US Women’s Open last month, I witnessed the leader, Shanshan Feng, make par after par until the last hole when she finally made a birdie. She had many other chances to score lower throughout the day but failed to convert even some short birdie putts. It was as if she was content to just make par.

Others of course were pressing her from behind. Could she win with that strategy or would playing it safe cost her in the end?

Paul was not just trying to make par and live an ordinary safe life.I am struck by the consequences of playing it safe in our life. I see no example of this type of behavior as I study the Scriptures. Instead I see example after example of people who were so sold out to God that they risked everything, regardless of the consequences. Why was that? Who or what had such a hold on them that they were willing to bet their life on it?

The apostle Paul wrote very elegantly about this in Romans 8. He explained our position as believers in Jesus in relationship to the kingdom of heaven. He spoke of being free from the law, living without condemnation, and being controlled by the Holy Spirit. He told the Romans (and us!) that we are sons and daughters of God—children and heirs of God. He reminded us that God works for the good of those who love him. He even made the startling statement that if God is for us no one can stand against us. And finally he told us believers that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul was sold out to God and in the end gave up his life for what he believed. But to Paul, that was not the end but the beginning of his eternal life with the God he had served so faithfully. He never lost sight of what he was working toward. He knew that he could not be defeated even in death because he knew that he served a God whose love was sufficient to provide him with all the strength and courage he would need to make it through. He lived an extraordinary life because he held nothing back. He loved God as freely as God loved him. He was not just trying to make par and live an ordinary safe life. He was a man who abandoned everything he had to gain what only God could provide for him.

Shanshan Feng protected her lead that Saturday, but on Sunday she again made only one birdie and sadly triple-bogeyed the final hole to fall into a tie for fifth, five shots behind the winner Sung Hyun Park. An eagle on that closing par-5 would have put Feng into a playoff, but by then it was just too late.

Maybe this is a reminder to us that today is the day to live like Paul, with boldness for Jesus. We get just one round to play—we should live our life with the abandon of a person who is truly loved by a Creator who guarantees that we can be more than conquerors over whatever comes against us. We can, through his power and might, not just play to make par. We can play to overcome and bring glory to the One we serve.

Linda Ballard
August 10, 2017
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