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Letting Go of the Reins of Your Life

When I was nine, Jed, a mean, pig-headed horse we owned ran away with me. I stubbornly clung to his back, while Jed ran several miles over small trees, along a high narrow trail, through the rugged hogback west of Denver.  I yanked the reins, knees clutching his heaving sides, desperately trying to get him to stop yelling, “Whoa, whoa!” He stopped–finally–when he came to a fence barring his way. I fell from the saddle exhausted and crying.

Years later I realized that I share something in common with Jed.

I’m also stubborn, even pig-headed. Just ask my wife. And friends. And almost anyone else.

Psalm 108 begins, “My heart is steadfast, O God.” That passage makes me ask: What’s the difference between being stubborn and steadfast?

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Ezekiel 21:1-22:31

Hebrews 10:1-17

Psalm 108:1-13

Proverbs 27:12

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Hebrews 10:1-17: The great Protestant Reformers paid with their lives to win for us a certain freedom, even a right, that too many of us pay little attention to. No, I’m not talking about voting in the American elections.

Luther, Calvin, and others (many who were martyred) believed each of us should have access to the Bible in our own language. Even though it could have cost him his life, Luther translated the Bible from Latin into German. Today the Bible is the most highly published and distributed of all books. Ever! I have two open on my table as I write this.

The Bible is also one of the most reviled and feared books. Entire governments have banned this book. Why?

Because it is God’s story of how much he loves us and how we have responded–or not–to that love. I believe this access to God’s communication to us is part of how God has fulfilled his promise to put his laws in our hearts and minds. How God has given us freedom.

Pray for those who won’t or cannot read this greatest of all books.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

What’s the difference between steadfastness and stubbornness?

Stubbornness is a hanging on to things that are better let go of: past wrongs, material belongings, the belief we are right and others are wrong, grudges, fear, and perceived control of our lives. Stubbornness makes us believe we are in control of something much bigger than ourselves.

While Jed ran wild, I pulled and yanked on to the reins as if my 50 pounds of body could in any way control Jed’s several hundred pounds of muscle. My dad later instructed me to never jerk on the reins but simply take one rein and pull the horse’s nose to my boot. I tried it and it worked. This was a way to guide the horse not control it. I’ve never since had a horse run away on me.

Steadfastness is a matter of mind and heart not muscle and will. It is remembering the lessons of the past and letting them guide us in the present. Steadfastness is the opposite of stubbornness because it is a form of letting go. It is recognizing that much of life is out of our control but not beyond God’s sovereign touch.

I cannot keep others from wronging me but rather let go of those wrongs because I have experienced God’s power to forgive and heal. I can give, or release, my material belongings because God provides beyond them. I give up control of my life because God redeems it all, even my mistakes and sins. God gives us guidance, meaning, direction. In the knowledge of his past care and love my heart can rest, be steadfast.

Why does the Psalmist have a steadfast heart and what does he “sing and make music” about? Because he has give up control. He can be steadfast, unmoved by difficult circumstances, because while letting go of the reins, he experienced God’s love and faithfulness. “For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches the skies,” he writes.

This is not conjecture on his part. This is memory, experience.

But stubbornly hanging on to control of our own lives prevents our ability to experience God’s sovereign faithfulness. It leaves us exhausted and weeping.

“With God we will gain the victory” and a peace that passes all understanding.

  1. Which passage spoke most to you?
  2. What did the four have in common?

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Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com.

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