Show horseMy wife and I love show horses. There is something special about a very large animal that can be trained to take directions. Recently I was at a horse show. There were such beautiful horses there of all colors. These horses are not pasture horses, who have been outside all winter with long hair with mud caked on them from sloppy pastures. These horses are bathed every day at the show, have beautifully groomed bodies with the slightest hair out of place being trimmed. Their manes and tails glisten in the light. Even their feet are shiny. When these horses enter the show ring under the bright lights, they sparkle, they shine, and they look incredible.

A young show horse is typically shown in what is called a bozell, which is a bridle without a bit that would go in the horse’s mouth. It is really amazing to see these beautiful young horses going around the ring, doing exactly what they have been trained to do, yet without a bit in their mouth to control them. Most horses love to please their rider so you would think it would not cross their mind to be anything other than responsive to the rider’s request. These requests come from any number of cues — whether it be a slight movement on the reins, a gentle nudge from one of their knees, a slight kick in their ribs or even a verbal command. All these cues are of meaning to the horse and practically invisible to those in attendance.

A horse may not respond to its rider when they are tired, lazy, or perhaps a little nervous. Sometimes horses that have been ridden with only the bozell get a little head strong as they realize the rider has limited control over them.

“You see” — the horse says to himself — “I now know that when this is on my face, the rider does not have much control”. For you showing that horse, the end of the bozell training has arrived and the beginning of the bit on the bridle has been ushered in. Once the bit is in the mouth, a rider has much improved control over the horse. The pressure on the tongue makes the horse respond as they should.

Now if we put the horses’ bridles into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasting. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a very small spark. The tongue also is a fire… It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.

— James 3:3, 5–6

Those are very strong words about our tongue. If we are honest with ourselves, we can recognize that through His Word, God is giving us great advice on how to manage our tongue and ultimately our whole body. In today’s environment, where would we be if each one of us would heed God’s Word in this very critical area.

Next time you think about a horse, let it be a reminder to check yourself to see how submissive you are with your tongue to God’s leading in your life.

Scripture: James 3:1–8

Personal Application

Where in your life have you demonstrated that needed to move to a bridal with a bit? What is an area that has improved in your life, thanks to the bit in your mouth? Who are you confessing this too, so you have the accountability you need to be successful?

Jim and Wendell signatures Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5