The Hoof Print
Horse News. Christian Living. Equine Education
The Christian Equestrian's Literary "Stamp" in Type
This is the first part of a multi-part series...
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Purity is a hot topic in the Christian world today.
In our culture, "to be pure" often is associated as being naive, abnormal, wimpy and "no fun." Even in Christian "upstanding" circles, the idea of physical purity (e.g. virginity, abstaining from substance abuse, not being a drunkard, etc.) has shockingly become a novelty. Many parents just expect that their children will turn wayward, have a "fling" and then hopefully get serious about life and settle down.
It doesn't have to be this way.
God forgives—yet—what we often find is an attitude of acceptance among Christian crowds for the "sake" of trying to cajole and lure the wayward (especially the young) into church so we can "fix" them. Many churches and Christian organizations mistakely define love as toleration. Much effort is put into glamourizing the Message into attractive, marketable packages that will be appealing and more palatable to the Generation lost. They increase and diversify marketing strategies and grow to unnecessarily accept a lower standard and end up accommodating sinful lifestyles by providing "a comfortable environment" where lives ultimately don't change much. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find it Biblical to accommodate and excuse sin. We are to instead call sin, sin and disciple nations in the Gospel, a solid hope in an unchanging Christ.
Christ's purity is not subject to or diminished by human definition, interpretation, marketing strategies or popularity. Regardless of man's efforts—Christ remains the same. Christ was and still is the perfect pattern. In Him is a surety, a foundation to be anchored upon and an absolute possibility in obtaining His ways (He. 6:18-20). Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (He. 13:8). He is consistent, unmoving, uncompromising Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6).
As humans, we are incapable of obtaining purity by our own efforts. We can "look the part" and still inwardly be vile. Being pure just doesn't happen by itself. As Christians that read their Bible know, the first tenet toward is a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living through us, putting on the armor of God, feeding oneself with the Word of God, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, and praying without ceasing. Being pure as Christ, though, does have some more action on our part. We are born with a free will, thus, WE have to choose to allow the Lord to work in us a daily renewing in a never ending lifestyle that permeates every part of us. Briefly, in application this means we have to set things asside. We have to keep our clothes on or even add more fabric to our clothing! We have to not read or watch trash. We have to walk away. We have to turn off the radio or television or computer.
In accord with Scripture and with the enablement of Christ, we have a choice and ability to control and to "... keep thyself pure" (1Tim. 5:22).
Our mind – What do we think about? Read? Entertain ourselves with?
Our eyesight – what do we view? Do we walk away or refuse to look at it? Do we turn it off?
Our mannerisms – How do we act? Are we ruled by selfishness ("this is just me, you'll have to lump it") or self-giving?
Our speech—What comes out of our mouths? Are we deceptive, backbiting, idle, vulgar?
Our desires – What do we long for? Do we inappropriately want something?
Our passions – Are we controlled by our lusts and impulses?
Our bodies – How are we presenting them? Using them? Managing them? Dressing them?
In our relationships – do we treat others as Christ would? Are we physically pure with others?
Our identity – Do we act as women should? Are we uncompromisingly feminine as God created women to be? Do we excuse ourselves as being mannish when God gave us a role of femininity?
How we work? – Do we work with purity? Are we blameless, ethical, integral and honest?
How we spend our time? – Are we good stewards of our time? What are we doing with life?
How we spend our money? – What investments are we making? Do we tithe? Are we responsible?
What entertains us? – Do we have hobbies and interests that God would approve of?
How do we care for our families? Are we committed? Do we invest and love the lives God has given us in our family? Do we honor our parents?
And the list could go on...
God doesn't want us to feel beat before we're start. He enables, He provides, He satisfies, He gives. What we have to do is make the commitment and live today, one step at a time. When we fail, we have to confess it and get back going on the right track. We have to be willing to change and make changes.
Let's bring this down to application.
What does purity look like in our daily lives?
To Be Continued...
Today, my old suspicion has been reaffirmed: an undisciplined horse is just as dangerous than a completely wild one.
It didn't help that the horse in question was well over sixteen hands high, a fiery young filly with plenty of blood. As beautiful as breaking dawn, the filly moved like moonlight on ocean waves; with effortless, rippling grace. She also knew exactly how strong she was, and exactly how small a human was in comparison to her power.
I followed my trainer, the inestimable Horse Mutterer, to her paddock expecting an absolute rebel, judging by the owner's description of her behaviour: she was aggressive and pushy, panicked in the stable, and had a nasty habit of rearing up and flipping over. The filly put up her ears when she heard us coming and cantered over, bright-eyed, friendly, and I began to think perhaps the owner was exaggerating. But she just didn't stop. She thudded to a halt only when her chest hit the top bar of the fence and I took a surprised step back as she nearly headbutted me with a head about the same size as my whole torso. Whereupon the owner diagnosed her own horse's problem in one sentence along the lines of: “She's so nice most of the time.”
We got more background information as the filly was led to the round pen, carefully studying every move made by both groom and horse. The filly had been orphaned at only a few days old; by a gargantuan and most laudable effort, the owner had successfully raised her to a large, strong and healthy young horse. Obviously, the owner cared deeply about this filly. Raising an orphan is no mean feat, but somewhere along the line pity had crept in and discipline had promptly signed out.
Now, the sweet orphan baby had turned into a menace. At first, as the Mutterer lunged her, she seemed just fine; content to trot around the pen for a few laps. Then, bored of this, she came to a halt. The Mutterer moved to encourage her on and she swung around, took careful aim and double-barrelled, both hind hooves flashing out in one deadly movement. Being the Mutterer, he had seen it coming a mile away and the kick failed to connect. But with that kind of vicious, head-height kick, you would be lucky to get away with broken ribs or a shattered face.
The filly was a typical spoiled brat; obviously adored by her owner (or else the owner wouldn't have looked for help when she needed it), but in complete, manipulative control of everyone around her. What had gone wrong? It was evident that she was well loved and well cared for, never roughly handled, yet still she was dangerous. The answer was simple: she needed to be taught respect. She needed to be disciplined – to be chastened.
Most well-behaved horses, mine included, have felt the nasty end of a dressage whip in their lives, with the result that they have a healthy respect for everyone around them. How, I hear you ask, could a good horseman possibly bring themselves to lay a lash upon the horses if they love them? Because they love them. They chasten them because they care about them. For the same reason as the Lord chastens all of us.
Yes, sometimes we can all be just as bratty as that big filly. We can be opinionated and stubborn, demanding our own way and throwing squealing, bucking temper tantrums when it doesn't happen. Sometimes we're so set on what we want that we nearly kill ourselves trying to get it. Other times we don't care who we're hurting, or how badly we're hurting them, as long as we don't have to do what we don't want to. We've all been selfish and spiteful in our lives; ever since the fall of Adam it has been a part of us that we will have to learn to let go of. And God knows that to learn this, we have to be chastened. Just as a loving father reprimands his child, our loving God reprimands His children.
So next time His righteous anger is upon us and He disciplines us with the consequences of our selfish actions, let us not be disheartened or resentful. Let us accept the chastening, repent and ask forgiveness, for He is a generous and loving God Who is quick to forgive. Then let us thank Him for His amazing love and try again, and do it better. If we are being chastened, let us know that this is a sign that He truly loves us. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth (Hebrews 12:6).
Glory to the King.