Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. – 1 John 3:7
Back in the late summer of 2015, my son-in-law took me golfing for my birthday. While I golfed one time about 30 years ago, this was my first serious exposure to the game. We only played nine holes and I was sending golf balls all over the place, but I loved it. I decided to become a golfer.
I thanked him so much and made such a case for a new-found love of the game, at Christmas he bought me an entire golf club set! Now I had 10 left-handed clubs, a bag of 100 golf tees, 12 golf balls, two golf gloves and a bag to carry it all in! I was ready to hit the links – or at least a driving range.
Once the winter snows melted, I began to venture out to learn the game. I quickly found out how hard golf really is to play. While I wasn’t expecting to become a member of the Professional Golfers Association, I wanted to be able to play the game with friends and not be too big an embarrassment.
Beginning last summer, I went to the driving range each week. I read golf magazines and watched plenty of golf teaching video on-line. I asked questions of guys I know who have been golfers for many years. I listened and I learned.
And I practice. While I couldn’t hit a golf ball inside our home, I figured out how I could practice putting. So, beginning last December I began taking 6 to 9 foot putts in my home office – every day. I began counting them and by February I started tracking my success rate. By the end of April, I had taken 5,820 putts, with an 88% rate of success.
I’m still not a “good golfer” and while I have improved greatly, I have a long way to go. I still often shank a shot and duff a fairway wood. I lose golf balls in water hazards and hit plenty of shots “out of bounds,” but I’m still a golfer. But, I am getting better. I’m practicing golf.
In the same way, we are practicing righteousness. Too many believers struggle with sin and living out their faith. They begin to wonder, “Am I even a Christian?” Just like I am a golfer, a person who trusts Jesus as their savior is a Christian, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fail. You’re working on your walk, you’re practicing righteousness, as John says.
Your efforts need to be in taking steps to improve your walk, just like I make efforts to improve my golf game. But instead of going to the driving range, are you making a point to be in your Bible on a regular basis? Just opening it up when you’re at church is not enough to equip you for battle against sin and Satan. Praying only at meal times is not exercising those faith muscles.
We are practicing righteousness, meaning we aren’t perfect yet, but we are improving. We’re making the effort to improve our walk and progressing forward.
You may not be perfect in your Christian walk, but you are working on it. You are practicing righteousness. Now the question is, how much effort are you putting into improving your walk? Are you committed to spending time in His Word on a regular basis? Are you developing a consistent prayer life? Do you spend time with mature believers and gain encouragement from their experiences?
Spend time at the driving range of Jesus and get into His Word. Practice spiritual disciplines and learn from other believers and above all, make the commitment to stay close to Him.
You’re practicing righteousness and there is a great reward in the persistent pursuit of following Him!
In His Service,