Are you getting tired of trying yet, is it starting to wear you down, finally after all these years taking its toll on you? It gets old, doesn’t it, always wanting to be in charge, taking all the responsibilities on yourself, wouldn’t it be nice just to be served instead of having to serve all the time. “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doing.” (Jer. 17:10)
Take a close look at part of this verse with me, “I try the reins,” that strap that’s attached to a horse’s bit, the way in which those who ride these massive animals guide them in the direction they want them to go. For most Christians, trying the reins is what the Lord must do, for we are a stiff-necked people, we go where we want to go, and then we tire of having to, we desire someone else to take the lead. Today we would use the analogy of our automobile, we drive ourselves when we should be in the passenger seat, relaxed, comfortable, at ease with the Lord Jesus behind the steering wheel. Not so though for the majority of us, when we see obstacles in the road ahead, we reach over for the wheel, thinking that we would be better in control of our life. Some individuals forget to bring Christ along on the journey at times, others place Him in the trunk, or at best in the backseat, very few allow Him to drive though, they think they know the road better than He does, they cannot stay comfortable in the passenger seat.
This is one of the reasons those bumper stickers on vehicles that read “God is my co-pilot” always give me the notion to flag those people over and have a little talk with them, to actually think that you could do better as the pilot of your life than the Lord, or at least think that He even needs a co-pilot. “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, guide me.” (Psalm 31:3) If you can find the time, look up the verses in the Scriptures that have to do with the Lord leading us, and then look up the reason that He does this guiding and directing, for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3) Each time that we try to direct our own lives we are forgetting one of the main principles of a servant of Jesus Christ, that His name is to be glorified in us, that we are servants, bond slaves to the Sovereign Lord of all creation, not the leaders of our own lives. We are bound for eternity, and we don’t always stay on the path on our way there, we falter, hesitate and take far too many wrong turns, when all we need to do is hand the reins over to Him.
Have you caught the analogy yet, God tries the reins, He tugs on them to see our reaction, to show us who we are and where we are willing to go for Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the only One who never needed to have His reins tried, though some might debate the point in the consideration of His temptation by Satan in the wilderness, (Matt. 4:1) every single human being though has had to have the reins tried, none of us have ever handed the keys over to Him, in fact, just given Him the vehicle, sat in the passenger seat and said, “Take me where you want me to go.” Too risky, too scary, we need to have a modicum of control, in other words my friends, we will not trust completely our reins to Him. Do we want to, of course we do, so why don’t we?
Here’s the answer, I don’t know, no one does. Great theologians, Christian psychologist, the greatest minds of all time will give you endless reasons why we will not stay in the passenger seat, why He needs to try the reins, why we will continue to doubt His leading, the reasonings are endless, the truth is unknown, we want some control. It is God who had the desire to save us from our sins, it is Christ alone who was able to do so, the gift is unspeakable in its love, but we still want to lead at times, we do not enjoy following as a habit. This is how we must remember why He leads us, not just so the path will be sure, not to teach us to trust Him, not just so all the cares and worries of our lives can be laid at His feet, (Psalm 55:22) but for His name’s sake.
By following, you are glorifying the name of the Most High God, whose name is to be exalted above the heavens, (Psalm 148:13) by staying in the passenger seat and never reaching for the steering wheel you show to all you know that He alone is worthy to be followed, to be trusted, and His name alone will be glorified. One of the character traits of the believer in Christ is humility, and there is no greater expression of this attribute than to let go, to never need the Lord to try the reins again, for you have given them to Him freely. Here is my humble answer to our previous question then, we have been blessed with free will, and in that free will we have designated ourselves as the determining factor of the direction of our lives, we have never truly said, “Not my will, but thine,” put a period on the statement, and meant it in every aspect of our lives.
Do we want too, I have never met a Christian yet who did not desire to do so, why don’t we, because the words “free” and “servant,” mix about as well as oil and water. “Adam, here is the woman I made for you, she is completely different than you in every way, now live with her.” Such is the way of God, His wisdom is beyond all comprehension, He has given us free will, and He request that we use that free will to serve Him. We are loved beyond all measure my friends, we have been blessed with the ability to choose, to choose to follow, to obey, to give Him the reins, and for those who submit their free will to the service of Christ, His commandments are not grievous to us, they are a joy. There is no better servant than the one who chooses to serve freely.
I cannot assist you in this endeavor, I am simply a humble writer of letters, I write as I am led to write, only God can put the heart of an obedient servant into you, and He will not force Himself on us in this manner, as is all the path of mankind, as He has always allowed, the choice is ours. No one who calls Him Lord and serves unwillingly can be profitable, for only those whose view is on the eternal, those whose trust is in the One who inhabits eternity, who give their life to Him freely can be used for the purpose we were intended for, to glorify His name. The choice is yours, but know this, a willing servant not only honors his Lord, but will be honored by Him as well.
“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:26)