August 16, 2022
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Test Your Way To Victory

Will Zalatoris displayed a key element of God’s design for humans. God created us to test and learn our way to victory! God gives us talents to develop and deploy. We are charged to test and see what works for the greatest good and for the glory of God.

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On the third sudden death playoff hole of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Will Zalatoris’s ball was pressed between a stone wall and turf – his ball laying in a small trench of mud. His competitor, Sepp Straka was on the green putting for double bogie.

Will had a big decision to make. He was right beside the green and only 20 feet from the hole. Zalatoris had three shots to win it all, and four shots would continue the playoff. Should he hit a risky unproven shot or go back to the drop zone and take a one shot penalty?

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reports it this way, “After much discussion with his caddie, Joel Stock, Zalatoris wisely went back to the drop zone and hit a perfect wedge shot onto the green. He won the tournament with his first bogey on the back nine all week.” Zalatoris said, "I knew I wouldn't have played the shot, but I at least was going to take a peek at it," "Joel told me about three times, 'Hey, Sepp's got 4 feet for [a bogey], go back, go back.' So I wanted to make sure that I wasn't giving up an easy chance where I could just kind of maybe pop one up on the green and get an easy 2-putt and it was just not doable. I couldn't get the club below basically half of the equator of the ball, the lower half of the ball."

Will was so close to the hole; so close to the championship. Yet, he had to take a step back to go forward. He had to go with what was tested to win. You see, Zalatoris knew he was one of the best wedge players in the game. He was confident he could get up and down — and win. He went with the part of his game that was most tested — and won!

Made to Test and Learn

Zalatoris displayed a key element of God’s design for humans. God created us to test and learn our way to victory!

God gives us talents to develop and deploy. We are charged to test and see what works for the greatest good and for the glory of God.

King David encountered an even more incredible scenario when he was just a young man. The Israelites were at war with their biggest enemy, the Philistines. The stakes in the battle were enormous. A 10 foot giant bully, Goliath, was taunting Israel and proposing that battle should be fought between just him and their best warrior. “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other. ” On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. - 1 Samuel 17: 8-11

David knew the stakes were raised higher than just one nation serving another. He knew this was a spiritual battle, and David refused to stand on the sidelines while the name of the Living God was being defamed. He agreed to fight the giant one on one, but David declined to fight the way other soldiers would have fought. King Saul even offered David his armor and sword, but David said, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them." Instead, he took his staff and chose five smooth stones from the stream (1 Samuel 17:39-40).

David knew he was excellent with a slingshot. David knew he had killed ferocious lions and bears with his slingshot, as he protected his sheep. He knew his slingshot was tested. You know the rest of the story… David slays the giant and proclaims the name of the only God who made and loves him! For more on what we can learn from the battle of David and Goliath, see Humble Boldness In Action.

Will Zalatoris, like King David, went with his strength that had been tested again and again and won the battle. David won his battle with full awareness that he was in a spiritual battle and that his talents and his testing experience were from God. David recognizes this by proclaiming that, “The Lord will deliver you into my hands…and the whole world will know that there is a God.” (Samuel 17:46)

Facing Your Giant

You may not be a professional golfer or an anointed king but you have plenty of gifts and testing opportunities. Athletes, executives, teachers, logistics professionals, lawyers, engineers, pastors, marketers, drivers, parents, forklift operators, philosophers, doctors, nurses, cooks, accountants, bankers and missionaries, all professions have the same task: To use what you have been given to glorify God and bless others. This is why we are made (see purpose article).

Every day — no matter what our profession — we struggle with what it means to glorify God. We also struggle with making decisions for our work and life. The way the world operates changes all the time and views of right and wrong differ widely. How can we know what is right? How do we know what will or will not bring glory to God?

Ultimate Testing Methodology

Through His Word, God has an answer to everything we face. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see a verse that unlocks so much of the Bible and gives us guidance for how to live and work in this world.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

In this short verse we get a warning, our purpose, and God’s wisdom and design for how to live and work. Likewise, this verse points us to so many other verses that expound on these themes.

Do not conform to the world — The world says look out for yourself first, take all the money, power, and possessions now. Following the ways of the world — no matter where you work — is a trap into which we have all fallen. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” - 1 John 2:15-17

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind — We were made to be transformed more and more to the image of Jesus. To renew our minds, we must go to the source — God and His Word. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12

Test and approve what God’s will is — God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect. And, He wants us to test it in our lives. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” - Philippians 1:9-11

Amazing! A God who says to test His will in your life. No other god in the history of religion gives His people loving freedom in this way! This is one of many clear differences between mere religiosity and living in relationship with the One Living God. We need to embrace this privilege and test our gifts. Here are a few questions to help you think about ways to test your gifts for life and work.

  1. Am I using my gift to conform to the traps of the world or does my gift help me love and serve God and others well? Hint: When I lay in bed or daydream about this gift what are my thoughts?
  1. Where does God’s word confirm or guide me as it relates to my gift? Hint: Search for articles on this site or Google with your question and add “Bible verse.”
  1. Where has my gift proven to serve the needs of others? Hint: Where is there tangible fruit — human flourishing — as a result of me deploying this gift?

Remember, there is freedom and victory in failure too. Failure sends us back to the source — Jesus — the One who passed every test perfectly. Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Yes, we can test weakness too and see how that brings us to Victory!

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Howard Graham
Howard Graham
Executive Director

On the third sudden death playoff hole of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Will Zalatoris’s ball was pressed between a stone wall and turf – his ball laying in a small trench of mud. His competitor, Sepp Straka was on the green putting for double bogie.

Will had a big decision to make. He was right beside the green and only 20 feet from the hole. Zalatoris had three shots to win it all, and four shots would continue the playoff. Should he hit a risky unproven shot or go back to the drop zone and take a one shot penalty?

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reports it this way, “After much discussion with his caddie, Joel Stock, Zalatoris wisely went back to the drop zone and hit a perfect wedge shot onto the green. He won the tournament with his first bogey on the back nine all week.” Zalatoris said, "I knew I wouldn't have played the shot, but I at least was going to take a peek at it," "Joel told me about three times, 'Hey, Sepp's got 4 feet for [a bogey], go back, go back.' So I wanted to make sure that I wasn't giving up an easy chance where I could just kind of maybe pop one up on the green and get an easy 2-putt and it was just not doable. I couldn't get the club below basically half of the equator of the ball, the lower half of the ball."

Will was so close to the hole; so close to the championship. Yet, he had to take a step back to go forward. He had to go with what was tested to win. You see, Zalatoris knew he was one of the best wedge players in the game. He was confident he could get up and down — and win. He went with the part of his game that was most tested — and won!

Made to Test and Learn

Zalatoris displayed a key element of God’s design for humans. God created us to test and learn our way to victory!

God gives us talents to develop and deploy. We are charged to test and see what works for the greatest good and for the glory of God.

King David encountered an even more incredible scenario when he was just a young man. The Israelites were at war with their biggest enemy, the Philistines. The stakes in the battle were enormous. A 10 foot giant bully, Goliath, was taunting Israel and proposing that battle should be fought between just him and their best warrior. “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other. ” On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. - 1 Samuel 17: 8-11

David knew the stakes were raised higher than just one nation serving another. He knew this was a spiritual battle, and David refused to stand on the sidelines while the name of the Living God was being defamed. He agreed to fight the giant one on one, but David declined to fight the way other soldiers would have fought. King Saul even offered David his armor and sword, but David said, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them." Instead, he took his staff and chose five smooth stones from the stream (1 Samuel 17:39-40).

David knew he was excellent with a slingshot. David knew he had killed ferocious lions and bears with his slingshot, as he protected his sheep. He knew his slingshot was tested. You know the rest of the story… David slays the giant and proclaims the name of the only God who made and loves him! For more on what we can learn from the battle of David and Goliath, see Humble Boldness In Action.

Will Zalatoris, like King David, went with his strength that had been tested again and again and won the battle. David won his battle with full awareness that he was in a spiritual battle and that his talents and his testing experience were from God. David recognizes this by proclaiming that, “The Lord will deliver you into my hands…and the whole world will know that there is a God.” (Samuel 17:46)

Facing Your Giant

You may not be a professional golfer or an anointed king but you have plenty of gifts and testing opportunities. Athletes, executives, teachers, logistics professionals, lawyers, engineers, pastors, marketers, drivers, parents, forklift operators, philosophers, doctors, nurses, cooks, accountants, bankers and missionaries, all professions have the same task: To use what you have been given to glorify God and bless others. This is why we are made (see purpose article).

Every day — no matter what our profession — we struggle with what it means to glorify God. We also struggle with making decisions for our work and life. The way the world operates changes all the time and views of right and wrong differ widely. How can we know what is right? How do we know what will or will not bring glory to God?

Ultimate Testing Methodology

Through His Word, God has an answer to everything we face. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see a verse that unlocks so much of the Bible and gives us guidance for how to live and work in this world.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

In this short verse we get a warning, our purpose, and God’s wisdom and design for how to live and work. Likewise, this verse points us to so many other verses that expound on these themes.

Do not conform to the world — The world says look out for yourself first, take all the money, power, and possessions now. Following the ways of the world — no matter where you work — is a trap into which we have all fallen. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” - 1 John 2:15-17

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind — We were made to be transformed more and more to the image of Jesus. To renew our minds, we must go to the source — God and His Word. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12

Test and approve what God’s will is — God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect. And, He wants us to test it in our lives. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” - Philippians 1:9-11

Amazing! A God who says to test His will in your life. No other god in the history of religion gives His people loving freedom in this way! This is one of many clear differences between mere religiosity and living in relationship with the One Living God. We need to embrace this privilege and test our gifts. Here are a few questions to help you think about ways to test your gifts for life and work.

  1. Am I using my gift to conform to the traps of the world or does my gift help me love and serve God and others well? Hint: When I lay in bed or daydream about this gift what are my thoughts?
  1. Where does God’s word confirm or guide me as it relates to my gift? Hint: Search for articles on this site or Google with your question and add “Bible verse.”
  1. Where has my gift proven to serve the needs of others? Hint: Where is there tangible fruit — human flourishing — as a result of me deploying this gift?

Remember, there is freedom and victory in failure too. Failure sends us back to the source — Jesus — the One who passed every test perfectly. Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Yes, we can test weakness too and see how that brings us to Victory!

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