I fancy myself a golfer. Not a great one, mind you, but I usually play well enough to enjoy myself.
I recently did something on the golf course that I had not done in years. In fact, I’m not sure I had ever done this before. I hit my tee shot right down the middle on a short par-4 hole, leaving 85 yards to the green, which had a small pond in front of it. I proceeded to hit four consecutive balls into the water. By the time my playing partner said, “The rest of that is good,” I had scored a 12 on one hole. That is correct — I took a 12.
I can laugh about it now. Actually, I’m really not smiling at the moment, so maybe I can’t laugh about it now. But I’m not mad. It’s over. It’s in the past. No need to obsess, right?
As we made our way to the next tee box, my partner was quiet. I’m certain he did not know what to say.
But as I prepared to hit my next shot, I looked at him and said, “I think I handled that rather well. I still have my bag and clubs. Nothing was thrown or broken. There would have been a time when I might have reacted differently.”
He laughed, and I went on to par three of the next four holes. But as I think about the fact that for a moment I was proud of myself for not throwing a golf club or a fit, I have to admit a bit of shame. Seriously! Should I be proud that I did not respond in a fit of anger? Should I think highly of myself for not losing my cool? Have I lowered my standards that much?
The Bible is pretty clear on this issue. It states the truth that we are all sinners, but then we see this statement: “Be holy, as your heavenly Father is holy.” No excuses are offered. There is no grading on the curve. God wants us to behave as he does. He wants us to be holy.
God has high standards for his children. They include things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That is the list of the fruit of the Spirit founding Galatians 5:22-23. That is the standard to which we are held. And not one of us is capable of living that way in our own strength.
But here is the good news. That is the fruit of the Spirit. That means that in the power of the Spirit we can exhibit such characteristics.
I want to be more like Christ. I want the same for you. Let’s set that as our goal. Let’s settle for nothing less. We may fall short on occasion, but God will empower you to do more than you realize.
Would you make that your goal?