The One Thing You’ll Never Master

The One Thing You’ll Never Master

golf

Anyone remotely connected to or interested in sports knows that the first full week of April is Masters Week at Augusta National. The greatest golfers in the world gather for one spectacular weekend to see who will take home the green jacket and be called this year’s MASTER. Winning the Masters is something no one can ever take away from you. Of course, some go on to do nothing else the rest of their golf career—but for that one weekend in April—they were the master.

On Earth, there are numerous disciplines, activities, hobbies, sports, and specialties where you can ascend to the title of master. We have master chefs, master electricians, grill masters, chess masters, master locksmiths, master mechanics, karate masters, bass masters, and that’s just what I can think of at the top of my head. If we go to school long enough, we will even be granted a master’s degree. If we learn how to harness and control the force, we will be given the title of Jedi master (believe me, I’m still trying). If you spend enough time and enough focus, you can master virtually anything. Mastery is a byproduct of persistency.

As millions of people worldwide gather to watch someone become a master on the golf course… I am reminded of the one aspect of life we will never master—our walk with Christ. It does not matter how hard we try, how dedicated we are, or how persistent we may be—we will never truly master our faith. In fact, the Christian life is a constant reminder of how far away from mastery we genuinely are. It seems like the longer you are a Christian, the more grace and mercy you need from God. It feels like we should be able to master our pride, desires, tongue, and weaknesses if we are persistent and devoted to Christ. Yet time and time again, we come up woefully short of the mark.

The Apostle Paul came about as close to mastering the Christian faith as anyone who ever lived. Yet, even he realized mastery was out of his grasp. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14. Paul knew that he had not arrived at the point of mastery or perfection. Pursuing that mastery is the goal, the prize, and the call he refers to here.

The standard Christ set for His disciples is what makes mastery impossible. He lived a sinless life. He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Old Law, which was intended to be impossible to master. Christ is THE MASTER because He is the only one to master obedience and submission to God’s will. What Paul says in Ephesians 4:13 is what makes mastery impossible, “Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”When Christ is our measuring stick and standard, the “till” Paul alludes to here is an eternity. We could spend an eternity trying to emulate Jesus and never measure up to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

I hope this doesn’t make you want to throw in the towel. I know this may seem like depressing news, but it’s really the opposite. Instead of focusing on how you’ll never become a master Christian, focus on how God still wants you anyway. Even though He knows you and I will never measure up to the standard of His Son, He loves us anyway. Paul says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though we are spiritually desperate amateurs, Christ lets us wear His mastery as if it is our own.

The truth is, some Christians walk around trying to convince others they are perfect. Many Christians live their lives acting like they have mastered what it means to wear the name of Christ. Nothing is sadder than a Christian who thinks they no longer need Christ. True Christianity is understanding how imperfect you are and allowing that imperfection to make you fall even more in love with your Savior. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Because we couldn’t master our walk with God, Jesus had to come and master it for us. For that, I will spend the rest of my life pressing toward the goal, toward the call, and toward the prize.

-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism

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