By: Kristen L. McNulty
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Last summer I had the opportunity to golf in a tournament for the first time. Throughout the weekend although I was overall pleased with the way that I golfed, I was not happy with my drives from the tee. I could usually get a lot of distance on the ball, but every single time the ball would hook right. It didnít matter what club I used or what ball I tried, every time I swung from the tee, the ball would go right instead of straight.
After nine holes of frustration I took the advice of some of my fellow golferís and started aiming differently. I wasnít going to be able to correct my problem that weekend, but I could change my aim to accommodate for it. So instead of lining myself up to hit straight down the fairway, I would instead Ďaimí for the bunkers or whatever was on the left hand side of the hole. This strategy worked well and for the rest of the weekend most of my tee shots ended up in the middle of the fairway- one even found itself on the green.
Even though changing my aim sounded like a simple solution to my problem, it wasnít an easy thing to do. In fact, I really had to fight with myself in order to do it. Deep down I didnít want to accommodate for my lousy shot- I wanted to correct it. I didnít want to aim for the left because I still hoped that the shot would actually go straight. But I was in a tournament and I wanted to win, so I made the change and between that and my partnerís brilliant shots, we actually placed first in our flight.
As I thought back on this strategy that I used on that weekend, I couldnít help but wonder why I donít take the same approach in my spiritual life. I have shortcomings, I mean, honestly donít we all? But all too often instead of swallowing my pride and making a small adjustment in my life, I Ďstep up to the teeí so to speak and pretend that this time itís not going to be a problem.
Really, what would be so bad about making some adjustments? I am becoming more and more convinced that nothing would be so bad about it, but it does cost us our pride. Letís face it- we all like to think that we have it all together and that somewhere deep down, we are really strong and spiritual people. Itís not easy to admit that we have a weakness and it is even harder to admit that we canít handle that weakness with our own strength.
This leaves us with two options. Either we can go through life and blindly fight our battles, stumbling all the while, or we can make some adjustments. Philippians 4:13 says ďFor I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.Ē Between Christís strength and making some adjustments, we donít have to spend our lives face down in sin and self. Yes, we still will have struggles, but we can be victorious in those struggles.
But we do have to make adjustments. Those who struggle with gossip may not be able to hang around the same people that they used to. Those who have a hard time staying pure online may have to cut their internet connection or install some filtering software. Those who struggle with honesty may have to establish some accountability. We all struggle with sin and therefore, we all have a way that we can make adjustments to avoid falling in that area. As Charles Spurgeon once said:
ďWhat settings are you in when you fall? Avoid them. What props do you have that support your sin? Eliminate them. What people are you usually with? Avoid them. There are two equally damning lies Satan wants us to believe: 1) Just once wonít hurt. 2) Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond Godís use, and might as well enjoy sinning. Learn to say no. It will be more use to you than to be able to read Latin.Ē
Making adjustments isnít easy, but itís definitely necessary if we hope to win both in golf and in our struggle with sin.
This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.