In my younger days, I loved horses. My parents, sisters and I lived in a small subdivision in town, but my grandparents lived on about ten acres. Their place was four or five miles away from ours. My grandfather had a few cows and other farm animals, but no horses. I had always wanted him to get at least one, but he never did.

My dad’s brother and his family lived about three hours away and we would occasionally travel to visit them. I looked forward to those trips since he always kept horses on his farm. Usually within an hour after our arrival, he would look over at me and ask if I wanted him to saddle up a horse for me to ride. My eyes would light up and a huge smile would appear as I said that I did.

Most of my days while visiting there would be spent riding over his property and for miles down their country road. Although I was all alone, I was imagining all kinds of adventures as I rode. It was a very happy time for me and a welcomed escape from the dysfunctional home life my parents had chosen.

Occasionally, I would stop, give him slack in the reigns and allow him to rest as he ate grass along the side of the road.  After a few minutes of that, I would tighten up on the reigns and begin to swat him on the rear end. Before long, he would surrender, submit and once again we would be on our way down the road. If it had not been for the steel bit on the bridle, he could have chosen to eat as long as he wanted.

“Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.” (James 3:3)

God has given us free reign in the form of our free will. He does not sit atop us and lord over every move we make. He trusts us to make good choices even though we fail him time and time again.

Controlling the borders of our minds has to do with guarding who or what comes in. But then it also has to do with controlling what goes out. In the book of James, he talks about the taming of the tongue. As we think about this, we discover that the tongue is nothing more than the launching pad for the words that the mind has produced. We can chose to drop the reigns giving our mind the freedom to go wherever it likes. However, when we do that it isn’t likely that the words will stop on the launching pad.

Every act we choose to participate in begins with a thought. It is for that reason that Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5,“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Of course we should attempt to bridle our tongues, but we should first establish a border around our minds. We do that by carefully and prayerfully guarding what comes into it as well as what goes out of it.

There is nothing more satisfying than to watch a beautiful, majestic horse trotting at a perfect pace and under the full control of its master. In much the same way, “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:18

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