“I got to play golf yesterday,” Stan said with a smile.
“How was it?” I asked.
“My game was okay, kind of normal, nothing spectacular, but it was a surprising round of golf.”
“In what way?”
“Well,” Stan said, “the fellow who asked me to play with him has never been my favorite person to play golf with. There have been so many times he would get so angry over bad shots and missed putts that he wasn’t a whole lot of fun to play with.”
“I’m kind of surprised you did,” I replied.
“When he called,” Stan said, “I was on the verge of making an excuse to not play, but I had the real sense I was supposed accept his invitation.”
“You were going to lie to him?” I said with pretend shock.
“You’re right,” he said, “making an excuse is just another way of lying, but I resisted the temptation. I had a real sense that I was supposed to play with him.”
Continuing, he added, “On the first tee this fellow sliced his drive way out of bounds. I once saw him do that and pound the ground with his driver so hard that he broke the club.”
“What did he do this time?” I asked.
“He said he was going to hit another ball. He teed one up and hit it right down the middle of the fairway.”
“Good for him,” I replied.
“Yeah, I was really pleasantly surprised. And then it got better.”
“When we got to the green for the first hole, this fellow missed a two-foot putt. I once saw him break his putter over his knee when he missed a similar putt.”
“What did he do this time?”
“He finished the hole with a tap-in double bogey. He smiled and said something like he was glad that was over!”
“Sounds like a changed man,” I replied.
“After about six more bad shots that would normally have sent him into an angry outburst,” Stan replied, “I said something to him about being so different. The fellow said that is why he had invited me to play golf with him. He said that not only had he become a Christian and surrendered his life to Christ, he had given all of his anger to God to deal with. And He had done so primarily with the Holy Spirit’s fruit of self-control.”
“How did you respond to that?” I asked.
“I gave him a high-five, a hug, and told him I liked the new him a lot better than the old one! He said that he did too.”
Bible verses to consider:
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back. Proverbs 29:11.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the joy and peace that comes to lives you change. Thank you for the freedom that you provide through taking all the burdens we cannot bear on our own. I ask you to open me to see and to admit all the areas of my life that need to be surrendered and abandoned to you for your care. Please lead and help me to follow in surrendering to you all that I try to control on my own so I will be the new creation you intend. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: When a person becomes a Christian, not only is the eternal destination changed, but there is to be a changed life for the time remaining here. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? Has your eternal destination been changed so that you can look forward to spending eternity in God’s presence? If no, why? If you have that assurance, how are you doing with a changed life, one that manifests Christ? If not as well as you like, do you know how to change that?