Unbridled

Bridle 

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
-Psalms 32:9

 If we belong to Him, then one way or another, we’ll be led by Him. How? Well, that’s largely up to us.

Like most important lessons, I’ve learned this one the hard way. Before becoming a Christian, I was hardly being led by God because, after all, I didn’t even belong to Him. But, to butcher a common doctrinal phrase, “Once Saved, Always Led.” That is, once I became His son, I also become a recipient of the promise that “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God” (Romans 8:14) and the similarly bold statement that “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” (Revelation 3:19) So I was saved in April of 1971; henceforth, I would be led, one way or another, like it or not.

The born again believer now belongs to God, who will guide His own child/sheep by the gentle combination of the Word and the Spirit, or the not-so-gentle bridle of circumstances. It’s either His Bidding or The Bridle, and I can personally attest as to which one’s preferable.

Now the horse or mule can’t be expected to respond just to his rider’s voice, so if you mount the animal and say “go forward” or “turn left”, you’re in for a frustrating trip. The bridle’s there for a reason. You have to make your desire known not only by speaking, but also through the thing which makes him uncomfortable if he resists it, a device made necessary by the his very nature.

He doesn’t have much choice about that, but we do. And we can do better. Like any animal, we have our urges, some good, some not. But unlike animals, we can choose to be driven by more than our instincts. The Holy Spirit was given us as a guide and a corrector. In fact, just try reading the history of the early church as recorded in Acts without seeing the blatant force of the Spirit in the early believer’s lives! They were led, as we’re meant to be and can be.

Which is why I don’t have much patience with the “I can’t help it” excuse. Granted, if you’ve got a weakness for porn, masturbation, fornication, or whatever, it can be awfully hard saying “No” when you’ve trained yourself to say “Yes.” I get it; been there, done that. But Hard and Impossible are two awfully different concepts, the difference often lying in what we allow ourselves to be led by.

Then again, at some point, we can count on our choice being overridden, and that’s when the bridle kicks in. Because if we ignore the Word of God and the Spirit of God, then He’ll orchestrate circumstances that we cannot ignore.

I can’t tell you how many men I’ve worked with who found their secret sin exposed in the strangest of ways. That’s awful to go through, but I’ve never seen a man go through that without first having been given plenty of time and opportunity to be led by the Spirit before the Bridle was imposed. I truly believe God hates it when we’re humiliated, ashamed, made naked and vulnerable by having our sin found out. But if we ignore all gentler ways of getting our attention, then we shouldn’t be surprised when the harder way is imposed. One way or another, He wins, and why we (myself included) are so prone to test that truth is beyond me.

There is an easier way, one David recommends in this Psalm and one which makes life simpler and saner for all of us. So today, if I’m smart, I’ll ask myself three simple questions:

What does He want?
What do I want?
Will I be led by Him or by Me when there’s a conflict between the two?

The peace or the calamity of the day will largely be determined by my answer.

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