A moral code can keep the tiger in you in check for a time. The fear of getting caught is a restraint that keeps most men within the boundaries of their marriage. I’m sure it was that way for Tiger Woods. We have admired him as a man of disciplined perfection. But that discipline, that self-denial, which was so characteristically on display in Tiger’s athletic prowess, failed him with immeasurable consequences in his personal life. When push came to shove, Tiger had a great fall. Discipline, apparently, isn’t enough.
Neither is the power of the law and the fear of getting caught enough to restrain the depravity of the human heart, and yet that’s all most of us are counting on to keep us on the straight and narrow. No man, no matter how disciplined, has what it takes to keep himself from falling. Every man has an untamed tiger within, waiting to pounce at the first sign of weakness.
The moral of Tiger’s tale? If you’re looking for perfection, you won’t find it within yourself. Discipline and restraint are in themselves never enough to produce perfection, because all that is in us is depravity. Failure is inevitable. But failure is never final.
There is hope for overcoming failure. But it isn’t in you. And it obviously isn’t in Tiger. It’s in a Lion: Jesus Christ—the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, introduced to us in the inspired writings of the Bible, whose birth we celebrate this month. This Lion has prevailed over our untamable propensity for sin and failure. He has triumphed over every enemy poised against us for our personal destruction. He did it by taking on himself the likeness of our weak, vulnerable and sinful flesh in his incarnation in Bethlehem, living a life of perfect obedience to the demands of the law, becoming obedient to the point of death, thus procuring the perfection that all of us long for and which God demands.