Who do you trust to give good advice? Is there someone you always turn to when there’s an important question that needs to be answered? For most people, that might be a parent, a long-time friend, a spouse, or maybe a mentor. On the golf course, that trusted person is a caddy. As we get ready for Scottie Scheffler’s story at the 36th Annual Christian Prayer Lunch, let’s take a look at what a caddy does on the golf course, who we follow on the course of our life, and what voice Christians should listen to for guidance.
The role of a caddy on the golf course
If you’re not familiar with golf, you might think that a caddy is simply someone who carries the golfer’s clubs. While that is part of the job, a caddy does much more than carry equipment around a course. As Golf Monthly describes it, a caddy advises a player on strategy, yardages, what club to select, and how the ground will affect the ball when it lands. In addition to that, a caddy needs to understand the weather and how much the wind may affect the ball when it’s hit. After all that, a caddy must have expert-level knowledge of the golf course and be familiar with the hazards and opportunities each step of the way.
Without the guidance and knowledge of a caddy, a golfer would be left on their own trying to carry their clubs, keep the clubs and golf balls clean, repair divots in the course, and strategically navigate the course. A caddy is clearly a critical part of a golfer’s success on the course. Often, professional golfers will have one caddy throughout the season. This enables the golfer and caddy to create a relationship, helping the caddy to understand how to best support the golfer and set them up for success.
The impact of who or what influences your life
Whether on the golf course or in life, someone or something influences the choices you make, how you lead your life, and the path you’re going down. The community around you, family, friends, culture, traditions, and even things you see on social media can all be an influence on you. Like a caddy guides a golfer on the course, who or what you allow to influence you can guide you in positive and negative ways. This truth is seen throughout the Bible.
- 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV), says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
- Similarly, Proverbs 6:27 (NIV) says, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?”
- Proverbs 13:20 (NIV) points to both sides of influence when it says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, or a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Similar to how if a caddy doesn’t understand the course or what club is best suited for a shot, poor influences can corrupt your life and guide you away from the life God wants for you. You need to be influenced by wisdom and truth.
Jesus sent a guide—the Holy Spirit
We need a strategic guide that will point us in the right direction on the course of life. If a golfer doesn’t know where the hole is or where the hazards are on the course, they’re going to fail. In the same way, we need a guide that is pointing us toward the goal of imitating Jesus, knows us inside and out, and can help keep us out of the pitfalls that stand between us and our goal.
Without a doubt, positive influences play a key role in our life. Additionally, Jesus said that he would provide a “Counselor” to be with us forever (John 14:6 ESV). The word that is translated as “Counselor” means “one who is called alongside.” What Jesus is talking about in this section of scripture is the Holy Spirit, which is seen coming to the followers of Jesus in Acts 2.
In Acts 2:38 (NIV), Peter says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In this way, we see that believers of Jesus are given the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul says that God has given us the Holy Spirit “as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:5 NIV). And Jesus said in John 16:13 that “the Spirit of Truth” will “guide you into all the truth.” Romans 8:26 (ESV) says “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
The Holy Spirit has distinct characteristics and traits that allow him to support a believer in Jesus. Like a caddy knows the right club for each shot, the Spirit can guide us in truth. Like a caddy understands the game of golf and the ins and outs of a course, the Spirit searches the depths of God. Like a caddy is paired with a golfer to develop a relationship, the Spirit has fellowship with believers.
How to listen to and be guided by the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has many roles in the lives of a believer in Jesus. He helps, teaches, convicts, fills, guides, seals, and sanctifies believers. That’s why training to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice is so important. So, in what ways can we hear the Holy Spirit?
In Desiring God, Scott Hubbard discusses two ways to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
1. Seek the Spirit in the Word of God
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) says the Word of God is “sharper than any two-edged sword.” This means that it should cut into our hearts and reveal sin, reveal ways we need to change, and reveal ways that we need to conform our hearts to God. If it doesn’t, then we aren’t approaching scripture with a heart that is open to hearing, learning, and changing. In this way, the Holy Spirit can convict us and use the Word to change us.
2. Remove distractions that drown out his voice
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus says in Mark 4:19 how the worries of this life can keep the Word of God from taking root. If we allow the world to drown out what the Spirit is trying to say, we’re missing the fullness of what God wants for us. Pausing and hearing the Spirit requires “humility, time, and quiet.” Make and take the time to study God’s Word, speak with him in prayer, and listen to his voice.
An apt encapsulation of this truth is found in James 1:22-25 (NIV).
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Don’t miss what the Spirit is trying to reveal through God’s Word. Read, listen, and do what it says.
Listen to your guide
A golfer wouldn’t listen to a caddy that told them to putt with their driver. So, you shouldn’t listen to people or things that are pushing you in ways you know aren’t right. Instead, let the Holy Spirit guide you in the truth of Jesus. Romans 8:5 (NIV) sums up the impact of what it means to live in a way that is guided by the Spirit.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
If you or someone you know is wanting to learn what it means to live according to the Spirit, make plans to join us for the 36th Annual Christian Prayer Lunch, with keynote speaker Scottie Scheffler. We look forward to seeing you there!