Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Next Golf Level

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
When I was younger, golf was a fun sport. I loved the challenge. I enjoyed trying to hit the best possible shot. Getting up to the ball I would look toward my target with enthusiasm. Sometimes my shot would end up close, most times way off. Through high school, my skill improved enough that most of my shots were close, even though I knew I could improve considerably.

As I entered college, my golf coach helped me take my game to the next level. He taught me how to visualize my shot before I even addressed the ball. I began to imagine the flight path of the ball. I could see the slight fade. I knew it would clear this part of the hazard and not go too far left. I saw the ball staying below the tree tops so the wind wouldn't take it. I imagined stopping the ball just short of the pin so I could have an uphill putt. I didn't want to put too much spin so it would bounce hard in the fairway. The ball would start off low to stay below one tree, but then get high enough to go over the next. I began to see these shots. There were so many shots that I just knew I would be hitting them exactly where I wanted them. The practice was there to make that a possibility, but my game went to the next level when I began to see the shot before it happened.

A lady who works on campus came to my office today. She had a question for me. Working with international students, she had one ask her what keeps her going through the stress and worries of life. She asked me what I would have told this student. I told her my thoughts. She began crying saying that she felt like Peter who denied Christ. She obviously felt like she blew it big time! That God was ashamed and, perhaps (she didn't say this exactly), her soul was in danger. We talked about the opportunity and prayed that God give her abundant opportunities to talk about Jesus and her own faith with international students.

So many of us go through life getting up to the ball and just hitting it in a general direction. Sometimes we might not even hit the ball in our enthusiasm! While it is good to at least hit the ball and to spend time practicing, we are merely going through life with a basic game.

To take our Jesus walk to the next level we need to visualize our shot before we hit it. We need to look at others (our leaders are a good place to start) and consider their way of life. We need to actually see ourselves talking to that person next to us in class. We need to imagine smiling at someone as we hold the door open. We need to feel the chair we will sit in as we read Proverbs 26 at 6:38am. We need to feel the person's shoulder in our hand as we will pray over the next person who asks us to pray for them instead of putting them on a list (prayer is personal). We need to imagine ourselves paying complete attention to the next person who needs our attention; we won't be looking around at other people wondering how to get out of the conversation. We need to see the opportunity before the opportunity comes. We need to cry out to God to open our eyes to the abundant opportunities he puts before us all the time. 

Imagination and practice go a long way as we seek to take our Jesus walk to the next level. What do you need to visualize yourself doing today?

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