When I was about ten years old, I discovered the Wonderful World of Golf. Not the old TV show but the real wonderful world of golf. I fell in love with every thing that had to do with golf. I totally devoted myself to becoming the very best golfer that I could be. Every moment of every day seemed obsessed with something about golf. I played in all weather, all days, and every free moment. I drove my Mom crazy hitting putts and chip shots around the house and lob wedges over the house. If we had the golf channel back then, I probably would never have done anything else.
Over the years, as I remained disciplined, I became pretty good at it. I had some success in the Texas Junior Golf events and was a scratch golfer by the time I was sixteen. I had dreams of becoming a pro golfer, but then something happened. I discovered other things that captured my attention and took my time. I thought I could keep winging it in the junior golf events without putting in the same effort. Instead of devoting my time to the range and putting green, I spent my time pursuing girls, cars, and other things green.
My dreams of playing in the Masters came crashing down when I was seventeen. After a year or so of half-effort, I was in a match play tournament against Andrew Magee. (He would later go on to an illustrious career on the pro tour). But when we were teenagers, I was the favorite. At least until the match started. Andrew totally smoked me that day. I spent the back nine just blown away with how good he had become. He played golf in a way that I had never experienced. He attacked each hole with a strategy and his mental game was in a place I knew I had never achieved. He had reached a place in his game that was far beyond where I was and far beyond what I thought I would ever achieve. I realized that day that I didn’t have the dedication or desire any more to pursue golf seriously. I had been winging it, not putting in the effort, and it eventually showed. Everyone who watched that match knew that I was not ready and not prepared.
Today, I look back at those times and am so thankful that God had another plan for me. But it made me start thinking about my devotion to Christ and becoming His disciple. Discipleship means “disciplined one.” We come to God and are saved by faith, but our spiritual growth is given to us as a seed that must be grown. Our time in the word is like the time a golfer spends alone practicing on the range when no one else is watching. Our time in prayer is a lot like the time we spend with our coach or golf pro. No one can spend that time for us, and not one can make us listen to the real pro. Where we choose to spend our time will eventually become obvious to everyone.
I have known people who inspire me spiritually. For the most part I thought they were just spiritually “more connected.” But I have come to learn that they have devoted themselves to actually abiding with Christ. While I was busy watching SportsCenter, they were busy being God-centered. While I was busy working for God, they were busy working with God. While I was busy learning about God, they were busy knowing God. While I was busy attending church, they were busy being the church. While I was busy telling people I would pray for them, they were busy actually praying for them. They were His true disciples, I was trying to wing it, and it became obvious to everyone .
Growing Spiritually and becoming a mature disciple of Christ is not a mystery. It just requires focused discipline to devote the time to be in a position of learning- abiding in the Word and in prayer. The Holy Spirit promises to teach us all things if we will just show up for the lessons.
When It came to golf, I got distracted by a lot of other things. I guess I will probably never know if, with the right discipline, I could have been good enough to play in the Masters. It doesn’t really matter- those moments have passed.
I no longer really want to play in the Masters. What I really want now is to actually know the Master. I want to discipline myself to become the best disciple of Christ that I can become. I know it is not going to be easy- nothing of great reward ever is; its going to take discipline, dedication, devotion, the humility to be teachable, and the faith to surrender. I have to fight to find the time in my schedule to be with God.I have to say “no” to some good stuff in order to experience the great stuff. I feel like I am making the turn on the back nine of my earthly life. The course is probably going to get harder and my dependence upon God greater.
When I was a child, I fell in love with the Wonderful World of Golf- but I lacked the discipline to experience the Masters. Now I am falling in love with the Wonderful World of God and learning how to experience the Master. I invite you to join our foursome. Its going to be a great back nine!
Source: Frank’s Blog