I’m not a very good golfer _ usually more of a goofer than a golfer. I remember talking to a local pro one time and I said something like this, “I’m thinking about hiring you to spend a few hours on the course with me so you can tell me everything I’m doing wrong.”
His response surprised me, “That’s not how it works. The objective isn’t to tell you everything that you’re doing wrong. The objective is to get you to repeat everything you’re doing right. If I only tell you to stop doing something wrong, you’ll just replace one bad habit with another one. You’ve probably made great golf shots before. So, if I can just get you to repeat those steps your game will improve.”
Wow! Identify what you’re doing right _ then intensify your efforts. Folks, that is the best kept secret in so many areas of life _ whether it’s raising kids or having a good marriage or being a good employee or a good student or living a godly life.
Some of you are probably used to a different model, the one where you beat yourself up for every mistake _ where the focus is on not doing the bad stuff _ where people put you down for failing. Believe it or not, that isn’t a good formula for living a God-pleasing life.
Now, clearly, one part of becoming a godly person is to identify what is wrong and change. However, there’s a right way to go about it. The right way is not to direct all of your attention on what is wrong. It is to direct your attention to doing what is right then improve and strengthen those areas.
For instance: When I keep Jesus front and center _ when I keep his Word hidden in my heart _ when I have an ongoing conversation with God (that’s prayer) … my spiritual life thrives. Something else that helps is being in fellowship with other believers _ when I make it a point to talk about things that build up instead of tearing down _ when I seek out wisdom from people who know a lot more about life than I do … my spiritual life thrives.
Paul put it this way, “…we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
Finish this sentence: “I know God is pleased with me when I…” Many would say, “When I don’t sin.” That’s true but here’s another way, “I know God is pleased with me when I spend time in his Word… when I’m kind… when I give generously… when I pray regularly… when I spend time with my family. What would you say? Fill in the blank, and then do it as often as possible.
That said, am I suggesting that we become laissez-faire in our attitude toward sin? A thousand times, no. I am saying the more you focus on doing what is right _ the more you strengthen your strengths the weaker sin becomes in your life _ the more Christ Jesus is glorified in all we do and say.