Friday, December 27, 2013

Barn Sour Horses ........................ Parables 059

The first horse I owned was “barn-sour”. No, that is not a bad odor - but a hard-to-cure bad habit. Whenever I went for a ride, that horse waited for the slightest relaxing of the reins. Then he would turn around and head back to the barn. He seemed to think that I had some torture planned for him, and standing in a dark barn would be far better. No matter what I did, that horse had real determination to have his own way.

I am glad God has more patience with me than I did with that horse. You see, the horse and I are

somewhat alike.

First of all, the Lord purchased me (with the blood of his Son) and became my new Master. He took me out of my old way of life... figuratively - out of the dark barn. If He had not done it, I would still be there, because, like that horse, I liked it. There was nothing in me that would leave without someone urging me. “No man can come to (Christ), except the Father... draw him...” (John 6:44) 

Secondly, He grabbed the reins of my life and pointed me towards toward His goal - being changed into the image of His Son. He has no intention that I ever return to “the barn.” 

Sounds great doesn’t it? In fact, it makes little sense to go back, for any reason. That “barn” was really a prison. There is a marvelous freedom in being guided by the Master, and He has promised good for me, not torture. But now and then, like that horse, I turn around, and head right back to that sin from where I came.

If a barn-sour horse could talk, it might have as many excuses as I have come up with for resisting the Lord’s pressure on my reins. Yet in loving persistence, He has, one by one, answered my excuses:
I can’t..... “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” (Phil.4:13)
I have too many areas of need..... “My grace is sufficient, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor.12:9)
I’m afraid of losing my friends..... “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
I won’t know what to do, how to do it..... “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go...” (Psalm 32:8).
Now I understand that my barn-sour streak arises when I take my eyes off the Lord and cease to trust His promises. Then, just like between me and that horse, the conflict begins. I resist God and there is war between my old sinful nature and His Spirit. (See Galatians 5:16,17)

The Apostle Paul also knew the same internal struggles, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do - I do not do, but what I hate I do... I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing..” (Romans 7:15,18,19) 

He goes on to thank God that there is an answer to the turmoil - it is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. In fact, our Almighty God has the power to take hold of ANY life and change the direction of it. He told one of His enemies, “I will put my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came.” Since He is able to do that, He is able to turn my life around, in spite of the depth of my doubts and fears.

Furthermore, the Master’s guidance is not harsh or unkind. His care is excellent, His hand is merciful and loving. Whatever tugs at me to turn backwards, He always has an answer for it, one that more than satisfies. To pay attention to Him finds me “beside still waters” and “in green pastures.” 

As long as I owned him, my barn-sour horse never got over his habits... but that might have been the fault of his owner. As for me, how thankful I am that I belong to the One who will never give up on my “training” until I am what He intended me to be.

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