“The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” (Psalm 32:8-9)
“Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! (Psalm 42:5)
‘What then is the difference between the Spirit leading us and the bit and bridle?’ Why use this imagery to reveal how the Lord guides us? The depths of the Spirit are not something I begin to claim to have absolute knowledge on. In fact, no one can make this claim except for our Lord. However, I hope these few truths below further encourage you to follow the ‘Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of your lives. ‘One thing stands out above the rest. Without it, everything that follows is lost. The Holy Spirit leads the way in front, and we follow. The ‘bit and bridle’ is normally controlled from behind, forcing us to go where ever it pulls. Even if one walks in front, the ‘bit and bridle’ still forces you to go forward. A few images in the bible help to illustrate this point. Jesus is described as a shepherd and we follow His voice. He leads in front along safe paths. However another image shows a better comparison, that of a slave and a son.
Imagine, a slave is ordered or whipped to do the masters bidding. The Son willing follows the Father knowing that is the best pathway for his life. We are not slaves, we are children of the Most High God. Jesus himself described us as His brothers and sisters (Psalm 22 & Hebrews 2). ‘Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children (Ephesians 5).’ Knowing wearer sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty also means that the Holy Spirit is entirely trustworthy. The Holy Spirit is therefore God’s leading, like a Father to his Son. This joyous truth is far different from the ‘bit and bridle’.
Two things need attention when the image of a slave and a son becomes clear. Firstly, there is choice for the son but not the slave. The slave has to do what he is told and is forced to do so. The Son may choose not to follow the Father. Granted that would be unwise, but still the choice is there. This leads to the second thing, where your choice is all the difference between having joy or pain. Joy lies in being a son while pain lies with being a slave. To put it even more bluntly, eternal life is given to the son, but eternal damnation waits for the slave. The question is, which are you? A slaver a son? A true son will always follow the father, always follow the Spirit which is God’s gift to you. There is great joy in being a son, as all that belongs to the Father belongs to you. God gives it all to us as our inheritance.
I did not say that following the Spirit is always easy, or something that we as sons and daughters always get right. Don’t be discouraged, for once you are a son or daughter of the Father, you belong to Him. We cannot lose son ship. We are His, and He will keep it that way. The image of the ‘bit and bridle’ is for us when we need discipline. We can count it a great joy when, although we don’t deserve it, God brings us right back to Him in the end. His discipline and leading, because we have not followed in the right path, is His love displayed for us as sons and daughters.
I say to you, don’t be discouraged! Don’t be sad! We are sons and daughters of a great and awesome God. Let our hope be in Him alone and then unspeakable joy will wash over us. That is what the Spirit brings, joy and peace beyond what we can grasp. This compared to the ‘bit and bridle’?