by John McGough
originally published 6/25/2008 / Christian Living / Faithwriters.com
In a little over one week I will be playing in a golf tournament God willing. That’s why this weeks picture at the top that makes us all go ooooooh, is of a golf course. I have not even picked up a golf club in over a year. While I am excited to get back on the course, I am also a little nervous, and acutely aware that what little skills at the game of golf I had have diminished greatly over that time.
It is time to get back to the basics. The man in the picture above, Jack Nicklaus, approached each golf season as if he had never picked up a club. I am going to have to do the same thing. I am going to have to quickly relearn the basics of the game.
I will have to make sure that my grip on the club is still right. That I am playing the ball in my stance properly, that my stance is correct to begin with. There are so many areas that must come together in sync to make the golf swing work properly and achieve the results that bring success. I will obviously have to dig deep into my library of books and magazines going through all the tips and drills that will make my golf swing automatic, something that I will not even have to consciously think about.
There is only one problem here. Every tip I read, every drill I do, and every “golf pro” whose advice I look to is different than the next. Each one has its own method of accomplishing the goal. Each teacher feels their method is the best for all.
The same can be said in our Christian lives. If we are not using all the skills that God has given us daily, then over time we will find that they will diminish in their effectiveness. They become stale, more of an exception to the rule rather than a standard of daily living. The good news is that we do not have to search far to find the answer to this. We only have to look to God and his word.
Getting back to the basics of Godly living. While it may be just as easy to lose our touch in living for Christ, it is much easier to find your way back than it is to reteach yourself the proper golf swing!
What are the basics of a Christ centered life? Are they a group a complicated, ritualistic actions that require vast knowledge to understand? You know, like a golf swing! The answer is no. The basics of Christian living are fundamentally sound, unchangeable truths, in which there are no contradictions.
Now I know that sounds way too simple! Daily living for anyone is complicated, much less for those of us who strive to grow more intimate with God. The world is not set up for that. The scales are not tipped in our favor in case you have not noticed. I get bombarded on a regular basis with emails and snail mails begging me to participate in everything from game shows, dating sites, and promises of “limitless” income. Dealing with people in my daily routine is not much better some days as a lot of people seem to be irritated by the fact that they had to get out of bed that day! Opportunities to express our love for God and to give witness to the blessings we are bestowed are few and far between. We have to be able to look for them and be prepared to act upon them.
Ok, fundamentally sound. What is a fundamental? If something is fundamental it is the original or generating source. Therefore I would have to believe that the fundamental base has to be God. This may sound like the easy answer, and actually, it is. But coming to an understanding of who God is, what God’s purpose is, and what role we play in that purpose is a vital part of keeping our relationship with him at its highest level.
In 1966 an organization was formed called RIF. You may remember it from your school days, but the full name of the organization is “Reading is Fundamental”. It was based on the premise that reading was the foundation and springboard for future success. Their energies are spent making reading materials and learning tools available to those that may not have access to them.
Being a Christian centered in God’s will is really no different except that God Is Fundamental!
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27
God is the fundamental part. The reason that all that we do as Christians is fundamentally sound. The first place to look when trying to get back to the basics is to not only look to God, but look at God. His purpose, reasoning, and intent not only in creation, but also his feelings and desires and why he yearns for us to draw nearer to him. Being able to grasp God. It is the essential starting point. Just as the proper grip is fundamental part of the golf swing.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
Every page of God’s word is filled with truth’s. But I feel the above scripture describes unchangeable truth better than any. God created us, and he desires for us to be with him again. The only way there is through Christ. Many people for many years have tried to come up with other methods, but there are none! This is the Law of God! While as a country we may be able to adjust and amend laws to suit our citizens, politicians, and culture, the Laws of God are not open for change. This is where I will not make a comparison to golf. There are many ways to achieve the golf swing you desire. But there is but one way to life eternal, and that is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is an unchangeable truth.
Fundamental, unchangeable, and without contradictions. Many people will say there are contradictions. I do not feel that way. What I do see are transitions. Yes many will debate the “Old Testament” versus “New Testament” and so on, but for what I observe, the only contradictions are created by mankind. What many view as contradictions I view as transitions of a loving God using “any means necessary” to draw his beloved creations closer to him. The contradictions come into to place when I attempt to translate the word of God so that it falls in line with what “I” perceive as a more comfortable way to eternity. It is during these times that I must remind myself as Pastor Rick Warren does in his book, “Purpose Driven Life”, “IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!” God has already taken care of all the details and requirements, all that he wants from me is to draw nearer to him so that I might have knowledge and understanding of what my role is in performing his will. God does not need my analysis or suggestions.
As I mentioned before; Jack Nicklaus went to his teacher (Jack Grout) each year to get back to the basics. The golf season for the most part is limited by the seasons of nature, but Christian season does not end. Whether it’s through prayer, a retreat, or a Bible Study, take the time to get back to the basics with God. And as far as basics go, the text below is a good foundation.
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
“Thou shalt not kill.”
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
“Thou shalt not steal.”
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
May seem simple, but sometimes, we just have to get back to the basics!
My name is John McGough, I live in Huntsville, Alabama with my wife and two wonderful daughters. My inspiration comes from my attempt to draw nearer to God each day.
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