All great golfers seem to have a defining shot. There have been so many through the years. One of my favorites, however, was Phil Mickelson's second shot from the pine straw of the 13th hole during the final round of the 2010 Masters.
Mickelson rocketed a ball between two close-together trees, over the creek and softly onto the front of the green where it rolled to within 6 feet of the pin. When asked the difference between a great shot and a smart shot, he responded, "I don't know. I mean, a great shot is when you pull it off. A smart shot is when you don't have the guts to try it."
Steve Loy, his college coach and manager added, "He'd rather be bold enough to have the courage to do what most people can’t."
Doesn't Loy offer a great picture of courage? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courage as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.”
I believe the people of God must muster mental and moral courage if they are to embrace adversity and lead others through it. Consider the courage to fight sin. Let’s face it, the trappings of this life circle us like sharks in a tank. Like God said to Cain in Genesis, “Sin is crouching at [our] doorstep and it desires to have [us].” However, the Apostle Paul challenges us to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
A renewed mind (mental) results in spiritual transformation (moral). If you are struggling with sin, you know it is most certainly a war for the mind, emotions and the heart. It takes incredible courage to fight for purity and holiness. The battles are constant.
But it isn't just in sin where courage in the face of adversity is required in the Christian life. There is so much injustice around us every day. Sometimes the Bible calls us to have the courage to stand in the gap for those who can’t stand for themselves.
Living the Christian life isn’t for the faint of heart. Ultimately courage exists because adversity exists. But courage rooted in the promise of Jesus to strengthen you (Philippians 4:13) really does enable to you to do all things, and it is that confidence in Him that is the foundation of our courage to live boldly in this life.
Scott Lehman is the founder of In His Grip Golf and the author of More Than A Game: Finding Life’s Answers Through Golf. Scott’s goal and mission is to introduce men to Jesus Christ through the game of golf. Scott resides with wife Leslie and son Micah just outside of Nashville, TN.