Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
To say that I play golf is a real exaggeration. Let’s just say that I follow Chet’s Three Rules of Low Expectation Golf.
When I swing, I try to hit the ball.
When I hit, I try not to lose too many balls.
When I play, I try not to hurt anyone. Including myself.
Most of the time I’m pretty good at all three. I usually actually hit the ball when I swing at it. I’ve been known to lose multiple golf balls on a single hole, even when I’ve hit the ball in the middle of the fairway. And I’m usually able to walk off the golf course under my own power. But there have been moments.
My brother and I were playing golf on what’s sometimes called an executive course while on vacation. An executive course is a short golf course that’s mostly par threes. It’s made to be able to get in, play, and get out quickly.
On this one hole, I hit my tee shot about 37-degrees off to the right. But to add insult to injury, it also had a wicked slice that pushed it even further to the right. To say that the ball was out of control would be one of the great understatements of this or any year.
Even though it was wildly out of control, there seemed to be some higher intelligence controlling it. The reason that I say this is that the ball was curving towards some people. Like a laser-guided Cruise Missile towards some enemy target, the ball put its sights towards a green where some people were putting. I yelled, “Fore. Fore!”
Yes, your wandering imagination is right. The ball landed about three feet from a guy who was standing over his ball, ready to putt. My shot that was twisting out of control hit the green, bounced up and smacked him directly on the side of his head. He went down like a sack of potatoes.
That golf ball started where it should have, sitting quietly on the tee. I was lined up and ready to hit it straight, keeping it on course. But once the club hit the ball, it was goodbye fairway. It immediately went off course. And with the added spin, it bent like one of McDonald’s golden arches.
Like the way I hit a golf ball, we all quickly go off course. We might line ourselves up to stay on course, we even might have good intentions in our head. But when it comes to actually choosing our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes, we deceive ourselves. We all quickly take ourselves off course.
When we deceive ourselves, we lead ourselves astray. We wander off course and stumble down a trail that’s made to take us further and further away from the life God intended.
And that’s where Paul finds the Galatians. They were in the middle of deceiving themselves. They were saying that the truth doesn’t matter. It’s not important which teachers they listened to. What’s the harm to keep listening to teachers that are not faithful to the loving grace of God?
When we keep on listening and paying attention to all the garbage that’s thrown at us through our phones and the internet, is it any wonder that people are more negative, and our country is headed downward. We are reaping what we’ve sown into our heads and lives.
It will come as no surprise that 64% of Americans say that social media has mostly had a negative impact on the way things are going in the country today. Alyssa Rosenburg of The Washington Post put it this way, “Pessimism is the order of the day. Optimism is now a niche product, rather than a culture-wide phenomenon.”
It's one of the stupidest things in the world to think that we can outthink God, that we can go against him and reap a harvest of good things and a peaceful life. Since he made us, it’s just logical that he knows what’s best for us. To go against his plan for us is guaranteed to lead to disaster.
And that’s exactly who we are and what we’ve done. We’ve listened to the lies that have been pouring into our hears, heads, and hearts for all these years. We can’t just ignore them.
It’s like lead in drinking water. One sip isn’t going to kill you. Not even a glass of water is going to harm you. But over time it’s guaranteed to harm you: fatigue, increased joint pain and irritability, constipation, nausea or vomiting. If you keep drinking water with lead, it’s guaranteed to kill you.
If you’re looking to get back on course, Jesus offers himself to you.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you’re thirsty and want to be refreshed, Jesus offers himself to you.
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.
John 4:14 NLT
God never needs to yell, “Fore.” Just the opposite, he only wants to bring you back on course.
 Pew Research Center
 House of the Dragon,’ ‘Rings of Power’ and Pop Culture’s Pessimism, Alyssa Rosenberg, October 23, 2022, The Washington Post