Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spirit Horses

They were gone now. By the time we noticed, only the trammelled lawn bore testimony to the antics of the roaming horses. As we traced the circuitous path of invisible horses, I resisted the urge to joke that we had been visited in the night by one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, probably the one that pours out the diseases... like swine flu.

The neighbors over the hill confirmed, they had seen two skittish yearlings wandering past them later in the morning. You would be surprised at how often things like that happens in my neighborhood. (A quick course on hiring teens who close gates, coupled with a gate-closing training program for teens might fix this but that is beside the point.) These ordinary horses were mere flesh, not spirit horses.

The prophet Isaiah begins chapter 31 crying: "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses..." explaining, in verse 3 that the Egyptians are men and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit.

It's human nature to want to rely on others for help, for advice, and guidance, for protection and wisdom. But why do we trace the circuitous paths, following in the hoof prints of ordinary horses? We have God to rely on, we have the Holy Spirit.

As Christians we sometimes get caught up in following the wisdom of mentors, the guidance of teachers, the powerful directives of influential preachers -- but they are just people. They are flesh and not Spirit, men and not God.

Do we pray, and search the Scriptures, when given advice? Or do we simply trust our friend and say 'that sounds good' relying on our human instincts? Because I'll tell you, hoof prints were not the only signs those loose horses left in our yard. They left us quite a few dollops of fertilizer as well. And human wisdom, even from the most well-meaning, most spiritual person, amounts to a big dollop of horse leavings if that's not what God wanted us to do.

Paul reminds us and the Galatians: "Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Galatians 3:3)

We have to decide: Are we God-followers wholly trusting the Spirit, or are we followers of human wisdom and run-away horses?

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