Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 19, 2010

it’s not in trying

From my golf game to my spiritual life, I find that doing the right thing is often counter-intuitive. Logic tells me that if I swing the club harder, my golf ball will go further. But when I swing slower and smoother, the ball goes just as far (and more often in the right direction). Looking at my spiritual journey, I also find that my logic and God’s design often collide. In reality, it’s not surprising that our natural inclinations will be at odds with walking in the Spirit. Slowing my swing down makes for a more enjoyable round of golf. Becoming a person who trades natural inclinations for Biblical instructions makes for a blessed life.

Would you call it counterintuitive to love your enemies, forgive those who hurt you, honor others and their needs above yourself, pray for those who persecute you and overcome evil with good? I will speak for us all … yes, living like that is counterintuitive. When we sit in church and hear messages, or read Scripture, it seems to all make sense. But in the moments during our week where we confront that truth, our natural inclinations cry out to be heard, and often win out. Just like with my golf game, swinging slow sounds easy, but it is not.

One of the strategies we all too often employ, is to just try harder. We determine that we will forgive, honor others, pray for our enemies, etc….but in our own strength. My journey has taught me that I cannot manufacture spiritual character by the force of my will.  Does that lesson sound familiar? Since we know that our logic and God’s design are often in conflict, daily submitting our will to His is vital. This conflict can be summarized well by the words from an old Larnelle Harris song, “it’s not in trying but in trusting that we find the strength of the Lord”.

In your mind you may be saying, “ it makes sense, just like in church, but natural inclinations still cry out”. It is proven in scripture, but still seems counter-intuitive to think that trusting will get us farther than trying. I say, look no further than Christ as the greatest example of a counter-intuitive lifestyle. He left heaven, was born in a stable, came to serve and died on a cross for us. That is certainly not the way we would have drawn up God’s plan of redemption. But God knew what He was doing with Christ, and He knows what He is doing with us. We can live His way!

As your eyes consume these words, does your heart reflect a counter-intuitive faith? You are probably living somewhere between natural inclinations and Biblical truth. Some days are better, and on other days the swing gets fast, and you try too hard. Seek and submit to His design daily, with a trusting heart. I know I can have a slower golf swing, and I believe that God has given you the capacity to live with a counter-intuitive faith.

My golf game matters little to God, but your faith means everything!

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