I know that we have another consistent writer on this blog who often writes from the perspective of a good golfer. Well guys, today I am going to write from the opposite perspective. I am going to write from the perspective of a bad golfer, or what some of you might refer to as “a hack”. You see, I grew up playing baseball, and I had always been told that playing golf and baseball at the same time could mess up my baseball swing. Therefore, I didn’t pick up a golf club for the first time until I was in my 20s. When I started playing golf, I instinctively swung my clubs as if they were baseball bats. To this day, even people who have no idea that I played baseball growing up will watch me swing a golf club and immediately ask the question, “You played baseball as a kid didn’t you?” This doesn’t necessarily translate well to a good golf score. The ideal goal would be get the ball into the hole in one shot, but it is not unusual for me to take 10 shots to get it there. For those of you who golf, you know just how bad that is.
So how do I respond to this struggle? Well, that is why I tend to go fishing a lot more than I golf! Luckily, our hobbies are just that, hobbies. They don’t carry much weight from the perspective of eternity. We can pick one up, decide if we like it or not, and then either keep doing it or try something else. That decision has little bearing on whether or not we go to heaven or hell, or if other people around us go to heaven or hell. We simply cannot approach the gospel of Christ with the same mentality that we approach our hobbies.
Jesus Christ claimed to be, THE way, THE truth, and THE life. He said to us that NO ONE comes the the Father except through HIM (John 14: 6). Whether we believe that or not is certainly a choice that He leaves up to us, but He didn’t leave us the option of trying to change His words. Jesus made it very clear that belief in Him and Him alone was the only way to eternal salvation. He didn’t leave us a plethora of different choices that all lead to the same destination. In other words, we can’t treat Jesus like one of our hobbies. We don’t get to pick Him up for those areas of our life that we think he fits into, and then brush Him aside in those areas where He makes us uncomfortable. We can’t follow Him when everything is going our way, but then ignore Him and go down some different spiritual path when following Him becomes difficult or inconvenient.
Let us make no mistake about who Jesus claimed to be. He claimed to be the Son of God. His claims about Himself were so strong that the religious leaders of His day wanted to stone Him for blasphemy, and ultimately had Him crucified for claiming to be God. He is not interested in sharing in our affections. Rather, He wants to be the absolute focal point of our affections. He is not satisfied to be treated as one of our hobbies. Jesus longs for His gospel of unwarranted, unparalleled, unconditional love to be the very mission around which our entire existence is based upon.
What’s in it for us, you might ask? He is! As we hand over our own wants, aspirations, desires, and so on to Christ, He exchanges them for a peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4: 7). He returns to us a love that is so strong that it can carry us through absolutely anything that we might face in this life. Jesus gives us a renewed purpose that is centered around eternity, rather than just our short and temporal life in this world. He promises to make His home with us (John 14: 23). Think about that for just a second. The being that literally spoke the world into existence promises to make His home with us, and watch over and protect us (Psalm 121: 5-7). He promises to supernaturally intervene on our behalf, as we hand over our lives for His purposes (Isaiah 41: 10). What other alternative is even worth considering that could compare to that? Following Jesus is not a hobby; It is a mission that defines our existence.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10: 7-10).
But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8: 24).