This week’s SS lesson on self-control reminds me of a very humbling lesson I learned on the golf course last December. A lesson I should have already learned. I have preached several times on how we are own worse enemy. For example you have David, who the giant Goliath couldn’t hurt. King Saul with all of his power and men could not harm David. Even when the enemy was in his own home, Absalom could not hurt David. If you look at the life of David the only person who really hurt David was David. His lack of self control when he saw a woman bathing is the only thing that hurt him. If David could have conquered and controlled self he would have had a flawless administration.
Last December my friend Ron treated me to a game of golf. Amazingly I got my best score ever-an 86! This was playing from the middle tees with one mulligan per nine holes. I was so proud of myself. I thought I had arrived.
A couple weeks later my friend Wes, from New Port Richey treated me to a game out near where he lived. We were part of a foursome. I could not wait to show them how well I could play now. On the first hole I drove the ball down the middle of the fairway. I was sure I was on my way to another great game. In the middle of the fairway I grabbed my fairway wood and was ready to knock it up on the green on my second shot. I swung and got nothing but dirt! I swung again and nothing but dirt! Come on William! It’s not a 90 mph fastball. It’s just sitting there for crying out loud! My three partners who had heard me bragging about my 86 the week before were patiently waiting. I swung again and topped the ball and it skipped about five yards. I was beyond frustrated and embarrassed! Now I have read in golf instruction articles to never get frustrated. Too late! I have also read not to worry about your score. The only thing you need to think about is your next shot. Well I was already thinking about the fact that on the first fairway my game was already ruined! In order to match my score the week before every shot was critical and I had already ruined my chances. I swung again. I topped it again and it went about two feet! That does it! Right there in front of three gentlemen I threw my golf club in the air in frustration! Problem was it did not stay in the air. It came down and hit a tree and shattered!
Now I was not only a lousy golfer I was a lousy Christian! I was a lousy everything! Now I was more embarrassed about my behavior than my golf game! I have gone golfing with a lot of men who played worse than I did but were much better sports about it. I was appalled at myself.
Now I had to finish the other 17 holes without a fairway wood since mine was now shattered. Served me right. My score by the end of the day was a couple strokes over 100! Here is the thing though. At the end of the day I finished in second place behind the leader by only one stroke! I could have won! Why did I lose? Because I lost my self control which caused me to lose a very important golf club. No one beat me. I beat myself by losing my self-control.
The three gentlemen (of which I was not) shook my hand and congratulated me on my game. I did not deserve any congratulations. I was not in their league, not because of my score but because they were gentlemen and I was an idiot! I was dejected that day not because of my score but because of my attitude. I resolved that day to never lose my self-control like that again. I have resolved that by the end of the game if I have won nothing else, that I have won the victory over self. I will be a gentleman and a sportsman by the end of the day if nothing else. The men I play with may forget my score but they will always remember my attitude.
My friend Ron, has been my golf mentor. He has taught me how not only to play, but how to play like a gentleman. He has also taught me more than that. He has taught me how to be gentleman off the golf course as well as on the course. At the end of the day I know I have spent the day with a good man no matter how his golf game was that day. My goal in golf is to by the grace of God, play with skill, passion but most of all sportsmanship. The only thing I fear on the golf course is not losing the game but losing my self-control. Fact is, after we shake hands and walk off the 18th hole no one will remember my score, but they will remember my attitude. I can’t always control my golf score, but I can control my attitude.
You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light Of The Cross.