There’s a lot more to the Christian life than we think. A golf professional had been employed by a golf club to give lessons, when two smart-alecks came up to him. He asked them, “Do you wish to learn to play golf?”

One answered, “Not me, it’s Bill here. He wants to learn. I learned yesterday.”

I’ve been a pastor for over 40 years, and I am still learning things about the Christian life. Take the sin nature for an example. The longer I’ve known Christ, the more imperfections I have found in myself. Even on my best days, I am as the filthiest of rags compared to His perfection. None of us will ever come close to His holiness and purity.

Does this mean we should quit trying to live holy lives? Absolutely not. We should do our best to please God every single day we live (remember, we were created to bring Him glory). We will sometimes have great spiritual victories and disappointing defeats along the way. At the end of the day, this phrase helps us keep everything in perspective: though a sinner, still a saint; though a saint, still a sinner. When we think about the truth of this statement, it should keep us from getting down on ourselves when we come up short — and proud when we succeed.

I hope you will never get to the point where you think you have reached a spiritual plateau, and now you won’t have any more struggles. On the other hand, I hope you will never feel overwhelmed when you experience struggles so that you break down from discouragement. Ups and downs are a normal part of the Christian life, and they will continue until we get to Heaven. Until then, let’s keep them in proper perspective so we can go on serving Christ. It’s not enough to have learned yesterday. You must keep on learning and growing today and tomorrow — and for the rest of your life. It will be worth your while.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder