Some years back I was up at horse camp in Washington State. I was leading a summer ministry team that was putting on a musical/drama to share the life-changing message and teaching of Jesus. At this camp we had opportunities to obviously be around horses and mules and other beasts of burden. On one particular day, as I was out wandering the camp, I came upon someone training a horse. It was amazing to watch both horse and trainer as they interacted; the trainer with his care, skill, and gentile firmness, and the horse with its great strength, yet yielding its will and giving its trust to the trainer. As I moved in for a closer look, the camp director just happened to come along side me. He was a tall man who looked the part; blue jeans, a western style shirt, topped with a big black hat and well warn yet fancy cowboy boots. He said to me (in a deep slightly Texan accent) “Mike, God made a beautiful thing when He designed a horse”. Now, he went on enthusiastically describing every detail and feature of that horse like a race car driver would describe their favorite car or a surfer would describe their best board or a musician would describe their much loved instrument. After a while I think I dosed off, it might have been the warm weather or the melodious drawl of his voice. As I came back to the conversation I heard him say, “…but they just are not all that smart and don’t always understand, so they need to be trained and most need that bit and bridle”. He went to explain that horses can’t figure out how to be helpful, how to join in and work with a team to accomplish a task, they need to be led, and most of the time they don’t get what they are doing they just do what they are trained to do.
This was Interesting to me because we can be just like the horse, but don’t have to be. What do I mean? Well, we are intelligent, we have the capacity to understand, we can figure out how to be helpful, we can know how to work with a team, we can figure out how to accomplish a task and certainly what God desires of us as we grow in faith and go about doing what He wants us to do. We do not or should not need a bit and bridle to force us into action. We can figure it out in our minds and take the initiative to be productive. This all came flying back to my mind as I read this Bible verse, it is God saying to us;
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
See, we are to get on with living life God’s way; following His Word (doing what He has instructed us to do in the Scriptures) and living out our unique call (your unique part of fulfilling God’s biblical purposes). According to;
2 Peter 1:3 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
The knowledge of Him comes from His revelation of Himself which is the BIBLE! It’s all there. So we are to be intelligent people and know God and know how He wants us to live.
But our issue is we tend to be more like the horse and mule than we think. Look atPsalm 32:9;
Psalm 32:9 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
See, we tend to hear God’s instructions from either a sermon, a Bible study, in our small group, or as we have our own personal devotion times. We are like the horse and mule and pass over the instruction and teaching in the way we should go where we don’t even listen for it or to it. We just want to hear the inspiring stories and interesting facts instead of the transformation and life change God wants to do in and through our lives. So, we just stand there like a horse chewing on some oats thinking if it’s that important God will force me into it, and our spiritual growth is stalled (play on word intended, if you are wondering what I mean think where a horse is kept…in a stall…get it?!).
As well, we can be like the horse and mule. Though we get the instruction and teaching of the way to live life and know what to do, we just ignore it and again think if it’s that important and God really wants me to be changed or accomplish good works for Him, He will turn me like a rider turns a horse. The pastor will tell me what to do, I will be invited to join a ministry at the exact right time when it’s convenient for me, God will speak audibly to me, I will feel good –have the time – be just the right thing to stoke my ego! And we trot off to greener pastures still not changed and still not involved in God’s agenda.
Don’t be like the horse and mule, be the intelligent, smart people God has created. Take the initiative to grow in your faith and serve God’s purpose – finding your unique call. Listen to God’s instruction and His teaching and take the initiative to grow and go God’s way. Let the evidence of our intelligence be a changed life and a life actively involved in God’s purposes.
Taking the Initiative to grow and go God’s way with you,