Thursday, December 03, 2009

What Tiger Teaches Men

Tiger has it all: more money than he could spend; worldwide fame; a beautiful wife; children; pets; houses; boats; a great career; unparalleled talent; endorsements; a photogenic smile; a buff build; a strong work ethic; television worthy personality; and the humility of desiring privacy, such that he and his family could better enjoy themselves in their time together. In other words, he doesn't prideful seek the spotlight, like some of those wanna-be reality TV stars. I've probably left out some things or traits that Tiger himself might mention, could we here from him on the subject. So what does he teach us?

His recent confession regarding "transgressions" against his wife and family teach us that man will not be satisfied in this world. How can a being made for another world be satisfied in this one? Was Tiger satisfied after, or during, his affair(s)? Maybe, but the satisfaction didn't last; in light of this week's revealing news, I am certain of that! Mick Jagger sang, "I can't get no satisfaction. Cause I try." He knows it's impossible, because he tries. Us less-famed men experience the same thing. Satisfaction - ultimate and permanent satisfaction this side of heaven - is elusive. That's what Tiger teaches us. But why? Tiger isn't teaching a new lesson here.

The men of Scripture, especially the patriarchs of old, teach us this lesson, some to heart-breaking, murderous degree. David sought satisfaction when he stayed home from battle and noticed Bathsheba, leading to an affair, a murder for cover-up, the deaths of many children, and polygamy. His son Solomon sought satisfaction in every possible way (see Ecclesiastes) and concluded that man ought to just fear God and obey Him. In other words, godliness is the answer to our thirst for satisfaction.

CS Lewis said, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." I think Lewis' gets it all right here. He speaks not only of the elusive, even if only temporal, satisfaction, but he sees "desire" as the man behind the curtain. We all stare at satisfaction in wonder and awe. Meanwhile the desire for it is subconscious or subliminal. Satisfaction is the symptom of our trouble (sin), not the cause of it. Rather, desire is the cause of our sin, and that's where the war must be waged.

James 1:14-16 says, "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers." No, don't be deceived. The problem isn't satisfaction; it's a fine thing to be satisfied. The apostle Paul knew satisfaction: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:11-13). Hebrews 13:5 says, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." That's a satisfying thought.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." There it is! Did you catch it? This passage begins with an admonition to be satisfied; but the enemy in that effort is desire, namely "foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction."

So Tiger, be satisfied with godliness; men, be content in what the Lord provides. Romans 6:12 says, "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires." 1 Peter 2:11 says, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." Galatians 5:16 says, "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Romans 13:14 says, "Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Galatians 5:24 says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires."

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