We have an appetite for being right. We have strong desires to fulfill feelings. Philipp Melanchthon explained these cravings as love, hate, hope, fear, sadness, anger and other affections. We get caught in a loop and fall into the grave of despair just to satisfy our desires.
I think of golf as a good example to develop this point. For eight years, I was a country club member and played two to three times a week. Golf is an addiction you are always trying to get better at. When you do well, you love the game, yet when you mess up, you hate the game. You have hope that you will improve, yet you have fears that you will not get on the fairway. There is sadness when your ball goes in the water. And anger when your swing falls apart.
You can only hit a ball so far according to your swing speed. It is a hard game to play with the gifts God gives us. If we use the rhythm God has given us we could play a descent game. But we are caught up in our earthly will and are held captive to our desires. I was playing with a pastor one time and he said, “You know if you hit the ball with your short irons, you will get on in four strokes and with a one putt get par.”
So I took out my 5 Wood and hit it out of bounds. I was a captive to my own ego. I did not learn from my mistake so I rebelled. Our lives are like this.
When I do not admit I am making a mistake and do not correct it, I feel bad. After a while, I just rebel and do not care. I just dig my own grave. This is a problem of having our own will. Thomas Aquinas once pointed out that we have freedom of will, but when our will conflicts with God’s will we have a problem. We need to free ourselves from this conflict. We need Christian freedom. When we declared Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps see our mistakes and learn to correct our actions so as not to make the same mistake again. It is like golf. When you approach the ball, your mind is telling you what will work. Yet we let our ego take over and do not listen to our inner thoughts. Our Christian freedom is listening to the Holy Spirit and making the right decision with the knowledge God has given us. With that new obedience we receive freedom from our desires and the things that cause problems in our lives go away.
Are you playing the game of life with the gifts God gave you?
Scott Rowley is a Lutheran Lay Minister serving in Senior Adult Ministry. Scott holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Asian Philosophy from San Jose State University. He received his Masters of Arts Degree in Old Testament from Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary (previously Fresno Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary). He is described as an Old Testament Theologian.