Staying Out of the Rough Starts on the Tee

Staying Out of the Rough Starts on the Tee

A slight change in trajectory brings a major change down range.

I’ve spent some time in Romans 1 lately and the last half of the chapter is sobering. You might know that section as the homosexuality passage, but that’s not its true focus. Romans 1:18-32 tracks what happens when a shift from true center occurs.

Romans 1:18-32 gives a snapshot of our culture. Many things in the rough are par for the course in our society.

But this course is skewed.

Paul describes the rough and sets up a series of causes and effects:


Off the Tee Hooks and Slices In the Rough
Romans 1:18-20 Clear knowledge of God revealed by creation: God’s eternal power and divine nature Godlessness, wickedness, suppression of the truth God’s wrath; men are without excuse
Romans 1:21-23 Knowledge of God They neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him; they exchanged God’s glory for images of man, birds, animals, and reptiles Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened; they claimed to be wise but became fools
Romans 1:24-25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie; they worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts: sexual impurity, the degrading of their bodies
Romans 1:26-27 God gave them over to shameful lusts: homosexuality/lesbianism
Romans 1:28-32 God’s decree that those who do such things deserve death They did not retain the knowledge of God because it wasn’t worthwhile to do so; they continued to do wrong and approved those who did likewise

God gave them over to a depraved mind; they became filled with: wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hating, insolence, arrogance, boasting, invention of new evils, disobedience to parents. They lost the ability to understand, to love, to offer mercy, and to give loyalty.


These guys are not just in the rough—they’re in the water hazard. The one with the alligators.

But it started by not acknowledging God, His truth, and His glory.

So, where are your shots landing? Is your spiritual thinking muddled? Let’s get back to the fundamentals:

Training Tip 1: See Him. Ask God to help you see clearly—to see His eternal power, His divine nature, His work in the world around you.

Training Tip 2: Worship Him. Sing it. Speak it. Read it from His word. Give Him the glory He deserves.

Training Tip 3: Thank Him. We’re surrounded by terrific things. Hot showers. Air conditioning. Sweet tea. Pick a few of your favorites, stop, and say thanks.

Point to the true flag and show the world how to make the putt.

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: Be True Off the Tee

Memory Verse: Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Meditation Passage: Romans 1:18-32

Just Do It: Line up your shot.


Point to the true flag and show the world how to make the putt. Click to tweet.


Deception, Discernment, and Direction

Deception, Discernment, and Direction

Deception. We don’t know it’s got us until it’s too late. We’re left feeling duped, shamed, and a little foolish. Deception ambushes us from all angles. From within and from without.

Within:                                                            Without:

Heart (Jer. 17:9)                                              Wealth (Mark 4:18-19)

Pride (1 Cor. 3:18)                                           Divisiveness (Rom. 16:17-18)

Reap/sow (Gal. 6:7)                                        Empty words (Eph. 5:6)

Desires (Eph. 4:22)                                         Fine-sounding arguments (Col. 2:4)

Inaction (Jas. 1:22)                                         Demons (1 Tim. 4:1)

Claiming to be without sin (1 John 1:8)     Sin (Heb. 3:13)

Discernment gives us a heads-up. It’s our night-vision goggles for the traps hidden in the dark. Three things bring discernment and keep us out of trouble.

A Relationship with God

A personal relationship with God puts solid rock under our feet to stand against deceit. Salvation gives us a new heart and the gift of God’s presence. 2 Cor. 5:17 (NIV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

New heart.

New eyes.


Think of life as a field of landmines. Before salvation, we haven’t a clue where to step and where not to. After salvation, we’re equipped with a detailed map and a Guide who knows every inch of ground.

God’s Word

It’s a no brainer. God’s Word speaks truth. If something doesn’t match up with Scripture, throw it out. So much is already down in black and white. Our part is to act on it. Remember James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

The Holy Spirit

For the gray areas, the individual day-to-day decisions, we have the Holy Spirit. He discerns all things and imparts His knowledge to us. Our part? To obey what He says and to be attentive to what He reveals.

If you don’t know Him personally, start here:

A: Admit your choices have fallen short of God’s perfection.

B: Believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross covers those choices—past, present, and future. He suffered your judgment and your punishment for you.

C: Come into relationship with Him by accepting His sacrifice in your place and give Him control of your life.

If you have a personal relationship with God, study his Word. A one-page devotional won’t do it. Read your Bible. Small chunks are fine. Consistency is what matters.

Next, cultivate a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He tends to whisper, so slow down and settle in. Ask for His guidance and listen to His still, small voice.

God equips us to navigate deception. But like any GPS, we have to follow His directions. No alternate routes. No shortcuts. By ourselves, we wander helplessly through the landmines of the enemy, our flesh, and the culture. Yet God can expose the deceit, and He always provides a way of obedience and righteousness.


When have you been burned by deception?

Did it come from within or without?

Where are you most vulnerable?

How have you avoided deception in the past?

What’s your most recent victory?


Deception. We don’t know it’s got us until it’s too late. Click to tweet.

Discernment. It’s our night-vision goggles for deceit. Click to tweet.

God equips us to navigate deception, but like any GPS, we have to follow directions. Click to tweet.