If you play or watch golf, you are probably familiar with a mulligan. It’s an action in golf that brings restoration from a bad swing. Often at fundraiser tournaments you can even buy a few — a mulligan gives a player a chance to re-do one play, to be restored.
Our journey as disciples of Christ is full of mulligans. One of the disciples, Peter, is a great example of this process.
In Mark 8:27-33, Peter gets the identity of Jesus right, but he got the mission of Jesus wrong. He goes from one extreme to the next. He needed a mulligan.
In Mark 10:17-31, with this shot, Peter made it back to the rough for he understood that a sacrifice on his part was needed to follow Jesus. And yet the rich young man that approached Jesus was not able to give up what he values on earth in order to be fully surrendered to Christ.
In Mark 14:27-41, at first Peter nails it again, claiming his devotion to God at any cost, but in the next few verses, Peter is with Jesus in the garden and he and a few other disciples could not keep watch like Jesus asked and they fell asleep. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Peter is about to slice it into the woods in Mark 14:66-72 when he does, in fact, disown Jesus, just like he has been told.
Peter was ready to give up on the mission and return to fishing. He was in a desperate need of a mulligan. Yet, a mulligan is not something he can give to himself. And despite what people say, it’s not something we can buy, either.
Peter needed a mulligan, big time. Do you? Do you constantly replay your failures? Or maybe your problem is re-committing the same sin over and over again? While others around you are experiencing spiritual victory, you feel plagued with the same problem, the same temptation, the same sin. And after a while, you give up on asking for a mulligan. You give up on becoming the rock Jesus said we would be.
We cannot give ourselves a mulligan. Mark 16:7 says: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Why was Peter singled out? For restoration, for a spiritual mulligan-experience he probably did not feel like he was worthy of and yet, just like that, Peter received it when in Mark 16:15 Jesus says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
We cannot give ourselves a mulligan, only God can do that. And some of you reading this article right now are in desperate need of a mulligan. You need something only God can give you. This is more important than Christmas shopping or holiday parties. You have looked for that restoration, that re-do, from so many other things and other people. You may have even thought you got one through some other route; but no, that was not a true spiritual mulligan because it did not last. When you really receive a true spiritual mulligan, it keeps you out of the woods.
Will you seek restoration with God now? Will you receive the mulligan he wants to offer you? Will you humble yourself and let God restore you into a right relationship with him? Right now is the time to receive that much needed mulligan, just stop and go to our gracious Lord in prayer and seek his heart of forgiveness for your life. He’s going to restore you — you are his prized possession, his beloved.
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.