By Brooke Holt
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” Psalm 32:8-9
God blessed my husband and me with three wonderful children, and we are eternally grateful! However, as every parent knows, raising children is not for the faint of heart. One of our children tested me in every way as a toddler and young child. I constantly referred to James Dobson’s book, The Strong-Willed Child, as this child was so stubborn and exemplified every characteristic of that strong-willed child. She was headstrong and bent on her way, even when it was not a good way or the right way.
Today, the Psalmist offers the same warning. Don’t be stubborn and hard-hearted to the ways and teachings of the Lord. Don’t resist his conviction or his redirection in your life. Why? Because the Lord loves you with a perfect and steadfast love. He knows everything about you; he designed you and knit you together in your mother’s womb (see Psalm 139:13-16). The Lord has blessings for your life that he does not want you to miss because of your stubbornness or waywardness.
The psalmist compares these qualities with the horse or the mule who must be led by a bit and bridle. These tools curb and direct the animals to keep them moving in the right direction and doing the work they needed to do. Most importantly, these tools kept the animals close to their masters.
God longs to keep you close to him so that he may protect you, guide you, speak his words over you, and see you do the work he has created you to do. His words are not to hinder you but to lead you to enjoy the abundant life he has for you.
I am so grateful to write that my daughter remains quite strong-willed, but she is completely sold out to the Lord. Even when it is challenging, she seeks to choose his way over her own. God issues that same call to every Christian. We echo it in the call of Lent – to pick up your cross, die to self, and live unto the Lord. This Lenten season, will you commit to receive his word and direction and to release your stubborn resistance?
How does the Lord need to curb you? How do you move away from him? Will you take some time today to honestly assess your life to see if you are rebelling against the leading of the Lord? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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