Trails and Temptations
My horses have taught me a great deal about the Christian life, particularly about how the Lord Jesus, my Master and Lord, treats me.
Just as I own my horse, so the Lord Jesus owns me. Yet it is a benevolent dictatorship. I love my horse dearly, yet at the same time I have high expectations of him. Because I love him, I make sure he is well cared for with shelter, food, water, and pasture. Then, for one hour a day (at the most), I ask him to focus on me. Not in a slavish sort of way, mind you. I work with him, aware of his great strengths (and his even greater weaknesses) to try and produce a partnership wherein he provides the locomotive power and I the brainpower.
The test of a true horseman is his riding. Likewise, the test of any man’s Christianity is his life. Creed must issue in conduct. Position must produce practice. Just as my horse must enter into my world during our daily ride – even though he cannot possibly understand why I am asking him to do the things he does – so I must concentrate on Christ in my daily “walk” by seeking those things that are above (Colossians 3). Since I have risen with Christ, I must pursue heavenly things, not earthly things, even when I cannot understand what the Lord is trying to do.
It’s all a matter of perspective. When the German army overran Western Europe in 1940, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Charles DeGaulle of France fled to England. While they lived in Great Britain they were not seeking the things of the British Empire nor her welfare. They were seeking the things of Holland and France, according to the place of their birth. Because they were dwelling only temporarily in England, they sought the things of the countries in which they were citizens. Likewise, all of my interests should lie in another city whose Builder and Maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Since I am a citizen of another country, I am to seek and practice that which will redound to the honor and glory of Christ.
Not only am I to be concerned with the things of the Lord Jesus Christ; He is to be the center of all my affections, of all my thinking. When I come home from work in the evening, all I have to do is whistle and my Thoroughbred comes running up to me, grinning, as it were, from ear to ear just to see my face and to hear my voice. Just so, our lives are to be set to see the face of the Lord and to hear His Word. But in order to make this partnership practical and effectual, the flesh must be kept in the place of death. All the evil desires of the old nature – our selfishness, our sloth, our pride – are to be slain daily in self-judgment. The horse is a naturally lazy creature and will often do no more than what is required of him. It is a sad thing, indeed, to see so many Christians who are no better. There seems to be no effort to mortify the flesh. But our walk must match our talk if we are to be fruitful. Such holy conduct is not dependent upon our strength, for we are weak, but in our weakness is His strength.
Finally, we must seek to serve the Lord, our benevolent Master, in all that we do. My horse Traveler understands that, as the object of my affection and care, he is to willingly and joyfully submit to his one master in all that he does, whether it be reasonable or (to him) unreasonable, interesting or drudgery, hard or easy. The Christian is likewise to do all things as heartily unto Him.
Dear friend, the Lord has chosen us, has called us to serve Him, our only Master in life and in death. Let us take heed to that calling which we have received of the Lord, to fulfill it.
May 25, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.