Golfers have lots of opportunities to look at the world around them. Next time you’ve hit a nice drive down the middle take time to look at the trees that guard the fairway, or the blue sky above you. For many golfers, it is interesting to find out who designed the golf course and spot the features common to other courses created by the same architect.
Christianity begins with the assertion that our world is designed by God. It is not a great divot produced in some celestial golf game played between the gods, nor is it the result of a cosmic golf dice game that has no players.
Look at yourself; you may not have the prettiest golf swing on the planet but you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a created being, incredibly put together so that you are able to do an amazing number of complex things in a fraction of a second (the average time a bad golfer spends on his backswing). More importantly still, you are designed to relate to your Creator. This is what gives all of us our fundamental value and reason for being. God rules over you, me and everything there is.
Bible verse to think about : Revelation chapter 4, verse 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.
One of the most important characteristics to being of great value, with enormous dignity and worth, is the accountability that goes with it. In golfing terms, the Open Champion or Winner of the Order of Merit must not only play well but also be the figurehead that he is.
Sadly, as men and women invested with great status by God our Creator, we have all fallen short of what is required of us. Don’t you find that you often fall short of your own standards, let alone God’s? Instead of letting God be God in our lives we try and replace him with a substitute – ourselves. Instead of looking after our world under God’s ultimate rule, we try and take Him out of the equation. You have lived, made decisions, taken action, processed thoughts, as if you are god of your life; and that is rebellion!
Imagine that today every golfer at your local club will play the course in the way they choose – some will start at the 5th, others at the 17th, or the 8th, and so on. They will play across holes to the “wrong” greens, play from green to tee, lift the ball out of hazards etc etc. Then, when everyone eventually gets to the clubhouse, each one applies the rules of the game as he or she sees fit. Perhaps some think they don’t even need to play 18 holes for their scores to count. Imagine what the Competition Organiser would think of it, or the generous person who has put up the trophy and donated the prizes. It is an insult to him, the game of golf and its rules and etiquette.
The chaos that results from such a scenario illustrates the state of a world in rebellion against its Creator. No wonder there is misery, suffering and injustice in a world like this where everyone lives as if the world revolves around them.
Bible verses to think about : Romans chapter 3, verses 10 – 12.
“There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God. All have turned away
Anyone who doesn’t care how people behave is rarely taken seriously. It is the responsibility of everyone in a position of authority to uphold what is right, proper or true. Many golf club secretaries, of course, see it as their life’s calling. Christianity insists that the Creator God is not indifferent to rebellion against Him. Two aspects of His character that go hand-in-hand are His justice and His love. It would not be just for Him to allow your rebellion to be swept under the driving range mat, as if it wasn’t real. It would also be unloving, because in a world where God is God it is extremely bad for us to live as if that isn’t true. It brings harm upon us and others.
Another point to consider is the fact that God isn’t like some Competitions Convenor who is bound to enforce some impersonal rules that don’t have much affect on him. No, when we lie, cheat, are proud, boastful, greedy (and that’s just before we get to the 1st tee!) it hurts Him. Those things may well be directed at our fellow golfers, but they are ultimately offences against Him.
And so, as you’d expect, our rebellion brings alienation from God and places us under His judgement and condemnation. Death and everlasting punishment are the result at the end for life’s scorecard that is full of blobs and blemishes.
Bible verse to think about : Hebrews chapter 9, verse 27.
“Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement”
You are playing off 28 and have somehow got yourself into a scratch game against your local cocky club champion. You are in big trouble, with no hope, and the stakes are high! What you need is someone to play for you, in your place as your representative. So you must swallow your pride and ask the Tour Pro. that a friend has very conveniently introduced you to, to play in your place. Of course, the Tour player, with his all-round ability, completely overcomes the arrogant, mocking and previously intimidating club champion. Your representative has won the victory for you and the rewards are yours. To deal with our helplessness against the judgement of God that lies ahead of us we need someone who is good enough and fully equipped to stand in our place. We need someone who is not only able but also willing. And so God Himself comes into His world, as a real man. God the Son lives perfectly and then suffers and dies in the place of others. He is the representative or substitute you need. In giving Himself like this, the awful wrath of God the Father that must fall as just punishment for rebellion against Him, is dealt with. At the cross Jesus Christ is forsaken instead of me and thereby gains the victory against the enemy, death, and all its mates that stand over us, strong and mocking – suffering, pain, mourning, judgement and Hell.
Bible verse to think about : 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 18.
“Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
The question worth asking of any great act is “Did it accomplish what it set out to do?” The Christian answer when this is asked of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross is an emphatic “Yes.” Death was powerless to defeat Jesus because He is God. He rose victorious from the grave to prove that not only is He the King and Ruler of the world but also that the sacrifice of Himself was an acceptable and effective one. His followers, who were eyewitnesses to his death and resurrection, were so convinced of what they had known and seen that they went to their own agonizing deaths rather than deny it was true. The title “Christ” speaks of his Kingly rule, which will one day be unmistakably seen by all when He returns to judge all men and women.
But just like the best golf instruction, what is learned must be put into practice in order to get any benefit from it (Imagine spending a week with Butch Harmon, working on your game one-to-one, and then deciding to ignore it all).
In just the same way, we must put this teaching into practice, by believing what the Bible says about what God is like and what we are like, and responding to these truths by acknowledging our rebellion and putting our trust in him
God commands you now to put all your hope and confidence in what He has done. New life, eternal life, begins now as we obey that command and trust Jesus to put us right with God. When we do this our rebellion is forgiven and dealt with completely, we have a fresh start as friends of God rather than enemies. A new relationship begins that goes on, beyond death, into eternity. There is now no condemnation for all those trusting Jesus, not because we have earned it, but because He has died in our place.
Bible verse to think about : 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 3 – 4.
“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.”
The consequences of what I have been explaining are not like the difference between playing badly or well at the course tomorrow. If the Christian message is true it is a matter of the utmost importance; it is a matter of life or death, Heaven or Hell. So, please think it through carefully and investigate it thoroughly.
Talk to a Christian friend you know (perhaps a fellow golfer!) or contact us at Logos Golf Ministries.
A good thing to do to find out more would be to read a section of the Bible in a modern translation (Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament would be a good place to start).
We would be very pleased to send you a Bible free of charge if you haven’t one of your own. Just ask us. We will not contact you for any other reason, unless you want us to.
However, you may be convinced in your heart already that the Christian message is true and just what you need. If so, I recommend that you do 3 things :
Talk to God in your own words. Confess to Him your rebellion, how thankful you are to Him, and ask Him to forgive you and change you. Read God’s words, which we find in the Bible (Ask us for a free copy if you haven’t got one). The Gospel of Mark will be a good place to start.
Tell a Christian friend, who should be able to help you find a local church where the Bible is taught faithfully and is at the centre of all that goes on. You will meet people just like you – forgiven rebels. If you want more help to find a good church then do get in touch with us. We would be pleased to recommend some to you.
I wish you the joy and peace that come from knowing Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Friend.