I was looking forward to playing golf today because I was expecting to play well.
We teed off at 11:45, so I ordered a cheeseburger at the snack bar. I hit a great drive off the first tee and lit into my burger. I knew it didn’t taste right. Sure enough, it was barely cooked. Now I’m thinking I’m going to be hungry for two hours until we can get back to the snack bar.
I hit my second shot right of the green, make a bad chip and make bogey. The second tee is not level on the left side, but I’m still thinking about the $10 I just wasted on the Palm Springs burger tartare. So, I tee up on the left side and hook it out of bounds. Inside I’m starting to boil.
We get out into the fairway, and the lady they’ve paired us with gets to the balls first and promptly hits hers in to the water. I walk over to the other ball and see it’s a scuffed up Prostaff. I asked the lady what ball she just hit. She says, “Titleist 3,” my brand new $4 Pro V1x Titleist 3.
Now I’m two holes into the round, I’m hungry, I’m out $18, and I’m about to be 3 over par. She quickly apologized and said she owed me a ball, and as I’m reaching into my bag to get another ball I mumbled, “Don’t worry about it.” But inside I’m angry, and what I’m really thinking is, “How can you not tell the difference between a cheap scuffed up a Prostaff and a brand new Titleist Pro V1x?”
Looking back, I could have responded three ways. I could have told her what I was really thinking, which would have been rude. I could have covered up what I felt by saying something I didn’t really mean (what I did), which was polite but not completely righteous. Or, I could have felt rightly about the situation (recognizing she simply made a mistake and it wasn’t a big deal) and said what I felt.
These three possible responses are indicative of three stages sanctification. The first is where we act out the unrighteous thoughts of our heart. There is a congruence between our inward thoughts and outward conduct, but it is unrighteous.
The second is where we recognize the unrighteousness in our heart but we cover it with conduct that is outwardly righteous. There is incongruity between what is in our heart and how we act.
The third is where our inward thoughts are righteous and we act accordingly. There is a congruity, but unlike the first stage, it’s a congruity of righteousness.
The third stage is the goal. It’s where Jesus lived. It’s a place where you can be yourself because who you are on the inside is how you should act. I know I’m not there, but I’m closer than when I began as a Christian 34 years ago, and I’ll be closer tomorrow. I just wish I could be as confident about my golf game. GS