When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
:: James 3:3 ::
It was a crisp day in 1995 as we drove down a long lane that led up to the barn where my dad boarded our chestnut, thoroughbred horse. I remember the butterflies in my stomach as we drove up the tree blossom lined lane. It was the day of my first horseback riding lesson.
I had been around and ridden horses from a young age, but today was the first day I was committing to actually learning how to ride a horse. My dad grew up around horses and livestock at my grandparents ranch. He was even a real life cowboy when he was younger (a bull rider to be exact). Now he was hoping to pass that love and passion for horses down to me.
When we got to the barn and pulled the horse out of the stall I remember just standing back because now was the part the adults were responsible for - saddling and bridling the horse. As I stood back and watched, my riding teacher called me over and told me that if I was going to learn how to ride, I first had to learn how to saddle and bridle my horse.
She modeled saddling the horse for me then she showed me the bridle. She pointed out all the straps and what they were used for and then she showed me the bit. The bit of the bridle is put in the horses mouth to allow you to control them and direct them. To put the bit in the horse's mouth you lay it flat in your hand and offer it to the horse to take it in its own mouth.
As I read James 3:3 I began thinking back to the this lesson. I was reminded of purpose of the bridle and how the bit is offered to the horse. The funny thing about the bit that allows a small 8 year old girl to control a massive horse is that it is the horses choice to open up its mouth and take the bit.
Much like the bit and the horse, God has given us the Bible, the Word of God, to obey and direct our lives yet it is up to us as to whether we take it. Having a bit hanging in the tack room does no good to help steer the horse, just as a Bible on the coffee table does no good to help lead your life. It is the accepting of the bridal and the bit, the acceptance and obedience of Gods Words that will guide us and correct us.