Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Devotionals from Fall 2015 print issue (Week 5)

SERIES: IN HIS GRIP, LESSONS FROM THE LINKS

Monday: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22; NIV

Practice…then play!

Golf is a game of precision and precision takes practice. Sure it’s great to get on the range and work on your game, but at some point you’ve got to tee it up and play for real. However, some people would actually rather spend all their time practicing rather than playing!

Some people live the Christian life like that. God never intended for you to spend your time sequestered in your quiet place working through the daily drills. It’s okay to deepen your relationship with Jesus so that He can transform your character to reflect His glory, but who sees His glory if you don’t get out there on the course of life?

I love the book of James because there is no subtlety. James follows verse 22 by saying that if you stare intently into the Word of God and walk away from it unchanged and forget what it says, you’re like a man who looks at himself in the mirror then walks away forgetting what he was looking at. James’ cure for forgetting is doing.

Without the preparation, we’ll never reach the potential our Heavenly Father has waiting for us. However, the balanced Christian life requires both preparation and “doing” all that God is teaching.

By Scott Lehman, In His Grip


Tuesday: “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19

Who Are You Imitating?

One of my all-time favorite golfers is Phil Mickelson. He is exciting to watch because he rarely plays it safe. His second shot on the par-5, No. 13 hole from off pine straw, and apparently stymied behind the trees during the final round of the 2010 Masters at Augusta National, will forever be one of golf’s greatest shots. Just thinking about it gives me chills.
But one of the curiosities about Mickelson that I love is that although he plays left-handed, he is actually right-handed. He wound up a lefty by mirroring his father’s swing when his dad was teaching him to play as a child.

I believe the spiritual application couldn’t be more obvious. There is an age-old debate about whether leaders are born or made. The truth is, everyone is designed to lead even if the only person you are called to lead is yourself. Every developing leader is influenced in some way at an early age by others. It shapes the person and the leader they become. This is why choosing your influencers are important. Do you see in those you imitate the traits of the person you want to become?

Ultimately our model for leadership is our Heavenly Father. Like young Mickelson learning a golf swing from spending quality time with his father, the best way to develop as a godly leader is to spend time with God and mirror Him as revealed in Scripture. Mickelson submitted to his father’s instruction; likewise we should submit to our Heavenly Father’s instruction.

By Scott Lehman, In His Grip


Wednesday: “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.” Proverbs 4:5

Don’t be Clueless; Get Wisdom!

Have you ever arrived at a big moment and were then afraid you were going to blow it? That’s how the average golfer feels after they’ve managed to hit a par 5 green in two strokes and are staring down a putt for eagle. A rare opportunity.

The putt is studied from every angle. But sometimes when you step up to hit the putt, you may still not have the foggiest idea which direction the ball will break. With no confidence—and trying to minimize the damage—you nervously poke at the ball…and totally blow it.

Reading greens aren’t the only places we can face information overload and still come out clueless. Life is like that. There is never a shortage of advice about how you should live your life. It makes no difference what issue causes the conundrum, ask enough people and you can generate enough advice to cover every perspective and leave yourself totally paralyzed.

Wouldn’t it be great if you just knew what to do. Better yet, wouldn’t it be great if God just bent down and whispered in your ear what He considered the best option. Well, in some respects, He has. He speaks through His Word, the Bible, through others and through the church.

Obviously God values wisdom in your life and He values it coming from His Word most of all. Don’t stand clueless over the putts of life; get His wisdom!

By Scott Lehman, In His Grip



Thursday: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:13

More Than a Caddie

The relationship between a professional golfer and his caddie is one of the great partnerships in sports. Golfers lean heavily on their caddies for insight, wisdom, confidence, club selection, decisions about putts­­—everything. Arguably the best example of this relationship is the 20-plus years golfing great Phil Mickelson has walked the fairways with Jim “Bones” Mackay.

It is not uncommon for television commentators to eavesdrop on a conversation between the two before a pivotal shot, like at the No. 17 island green at TPC Sawgrass. It was fascinating a few years ago to listen, as Mickelson and Mackay judged distance, the wind, firmness of the green and what shot shape Mickelson should play. Once a decision was made, Mackay firmly said to Mickelson, “I like that club a lot.” Mickelson responded to that final boost of confidence by dropping the ball about eight feet from the pin.

The importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian may be one of the most under-taught and misunderstood tenets of the Christian faith. Jesus told His disciples that after He was resurrected, He would send a comforter to guide them. Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us in the flesh. The Holy Spirit is God within us.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit because we need help. Who better to take the Word of God, and press it into our lives for the purpose of conforming us to the image of God (Romans 8:29). Lean heavily on the Holy Spirit for insight, wisdom, confidence, decisions about life—everything. You’ll find that’s no caddie helping you, but the God who created you.

By Scott Lehman, In His Grip


Friday: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Loving Like a Brother

Do you really know what it means when the Bible tells us to put the interest of others before our own interests?

I love the story of 1996 U.S. Open winner Steve Jones and runner-up Tom Lehman. Jones suffered a motorcycle accident in 1991 and didn’t play golf for three years. Jones and Lehman had been friends for a number of years, but their careers at that moment were heading in opposite directions. Lehman was one of the tour’s dominant players, and Jones was struggling to keep his career alive. As providence would have it, the two were in the final grouping on the last day of the tournament.

“As we headed down the first fairway together,” Jones recalled. “Tom walked up beside me and said a prayer. He prayed for our day of competition, that the Lord would be glorified no matter what the outcome.”

With things slipping away from Jones, and Lehman on the charge, Jones said Lehman prayed again, quoting Joshua 1:9, and saying, “The Lord wants us to be strong and courageous.” Jones barely pulled out an emotional win to cap a hard road back.
“For Tom to encourage me the way he did was really no surprise to me,” Jones said. “That’s the Tom I know. I wouldn’t expect anything different.”

Wow! Seriously, talk about brotherly love. There was Lehman also trying his hardest to win while encouraging a friend to finish well, even if it cost him the win. There is so much we can take from this that will help us be great playing partner to others.

Ultimately, if you strive to be the type of friend you want in a friend, you will have no shortage of people who want to connect with you. Be humble and remember, it isn’t actually you they are attracted to as much as it is the “aroma of Christ” in you (II Corinthians 2:15).

By Scott Lehman, In His Grip


 

Weekender: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth…” Ephesians 6:14 (KJV)

Going Long

When you see this verse, think about how much truth matters. It’s so important, that it’s the first thing mentioned and everything you do is based on that truth that you know.