Links Daily Devotional

The Yips and the Earthlies

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you… anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:5-10, ESV)

If you ever search YouTube for instructional videos on how to beat the yips, you’ll discover that dozens of teachers have accommodated you by posting a solution. But let me save you some time before you open your browser.

You beat the earthlies with a combination of knowledge, action, and renewal.First, many of the videos that promise a cure are actually small infomercials and don’t tell you much except how to pay for the video series that will reveal the cure. Many of those have been posted by psychologists, some of whom don’t even play golf. They may or may not know about the yips, but they do know how to persuade you to send them a check. Snake oil salesmen were their ancestors.

Second, there is no single answer to the yips, because they in fact grow out of poor technique. When I told world-renowned short game instructor Stan Utley that I hoped he was good with the mind because I needed his help with chipping yips, he said, “It’s not mental, it’s technique.” And he was right. But the yips do affect the mind, and just as technique needs to be repaired, so does the thinking of a yipper.

Exactly the same thing is true spiritually for one who, as shown in the verses above, has walked in the way of the world. We may not all have had the yips, but we all have had “the earthlies.” And those are even scarier.

How do we get over them? We change our technique by putting away bad practices. In fact, we put away the entire old self and put on a new self. This requires action on our part; it is not passive.

Yes, Paul said here that the new self “is being renewed in knowledge,” and he wrote in Romans 12:2, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” but in both places he is encouraging his readers to move forward (note Romans 12:1). That happens both in the choices we make (mental) and the actions we take (technique).

You don’t need YouTube to beat the yips, you need some good instruction, the courage to take action, and a mind that is being renewed. Likewise, you beat the earthlies with a combination of knowledge, action, and renewal. The process works. Use it on the golf course, but apply it with fervor in your spiritual life. I promise that you’ll love the results, and not a single drop of snake oil is involved.

Lewis Greer
August 15, 2017
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