I am no Solomon but I hope I can share some inspiration and even a bit of wisdom with these words that I write…
Living by the Bible is definitely not easy. But it’s the only way for me. I can’t imagine living my life any other way. Some people, especially these days, would scoff at us religious golfers. They might think religion shouldn’t be mixed up with sports. But I believe that religion is more than just something you practice in church for a couple of hours. My religion – I view it as a map on how to live my life every single waking hour. It’s a law of love that pervades every aspect of my life, whether it be how I treat my family or the waitress at the diner, how I give my best at work, how I manage my finances or how I perform at my sport.
Every time I go on tour I make it a point to meditate on the purpose of my playing golf. When a person plays a sport, he strives for the mastery of his body. Athletes train long and hard, putting in subjection all their desires and whims, as they work towards one goal – to excel and be the best at what they do. Self-restraint, discipline, focus, eyes on the goal. I try to translate all that physical exertion into the spiritual realm. In our spiritual lives, we strive for a better prize that cannot be destroyed by rust or mold. All the discipline and self-mastery I pour into my sport, I know I ought to even double and triple it for the spiritual trophy that will last forever.
Sport builds character. More than the money, playing golf has helped me grow in wisdom and be more self-controlled in my emotions. Sometimes, when you are on the verge of losing it, you just have to take a deep breath and try to detach yourself from your physical cares. Worry and distress usually result when I weaken or neglect the spiritual things. When I get too focused on the cares of this life and lose the right perspective. Sometimes, it’s vanity that motivates us. Sometimes it’s pride. But those are the wrong attitudes to have when playing a sport. They just lead to a lot of heartache. For me, I always make self-mastery as my goal. I compete against myself. I do my best to excel in order to give the other fellow a fitting competitor. Iron sharpening iron. Whether I win or lose, the rewards are always there with respect to character building.
Sometimes, winning poses a greater spiritual threat than losing. As long as I have tried my best, if I should lose, I am happy and see it as an opportunity to be humbled. Winning, on the other hand, tends to push humans towards pride or complacency. The challenge is to remain humble at all times, giving God the glory in all the success he affords you.
Another weakness that can result from winning is the human tendency to rely on oneself. During good times, when we are on the winning side, we feel self-sufficient. We don’t need anyone to save us, or so we think. I pray with all my might that I never forget to see God as my sole help and hope all the days of my life. “Cursed be the man that trusts in man and makes flesh his shield.” Trusting in a man is a curse. And trusting in a man includes trusting in myself – I too am just a mere man. Every golf swing, every breath, every second of my life, I know will not be possible without God who sustains me. I know I will be cursed once I forget that.
I try my best and always give my full one hundred percent in everything. The Bible says that we are to do with all our might whatsoever we find to do with our hands. But I also always remind myself that my best will never be enough without God filling in for wherever I fall short.
Trusting in God alone makes me stronger. It’s corollary is I also fear no man. As long as I know I am doing my best to live God’s way, I should fear nothing and no one. The righteous are to be bold as a lion.
I try to always keep my eyes open, sensitive to what God wants me to see or learn every day. God doesn’t always speak to us with lightning and thunder as he did in Mt. Sinai to Moses. He sometimes speaks to us in a still, small voice like he did to Elijah in the mountain. Sometimes, that still, small voice can be a friend or even a stranger mentioning something in passing – but if you paid close attention you should have already realized something important you ought to do or stop doing. Hopefully these spiritual musings speak in such a way to the hearts of those who read them.