In Part 1 of Saving Shiloh I shared how this eight year old brood mare went through three stages as we helped her become a valuable saddle horse. Stage one was Resistance. As I begin Part 2 of Saving Shiloh I am reminded in James and Peter there is a time and place for resistance.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 5:5-10 “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Resisting the devil seems to be a real smart idea since as we learned from the scriptures he is out to destroy and is the father of lies. The way we resist him is to be humble, submit ourselves to God, be alert of sober mind, and stand firm in the faith. For stage 2 and 3 I will focus our thoughts on this idea of submitting or fully releasing our lives to a God who cares for us and has our best interest in mind. However before I get to stage 2 I want to share a little about exposing Shiloh to frightening and uncomfortable situations.
During the first few days of Shiloh’s preparation for riding we had to expose her to new things to help her learn to cope and work things out. These things can trouble a horse. But because we loved her and knew these experiences would make her a more reliable riding partner we had to continue until she could handle these things without being troubled. Things like: bridling, saddling, being mounted and for her especially dismounting and yes, even unsaddling. There were lots of other things like: giving to the bit, accepting a rider, yielding various body parts, obstacles, the appearance and disappearance of other horses, being left alone, neighbors shooting off fireworks, storms etc.
This is similar to the trials and troubles we face in this life. There are times when we bring these troubles on ourselves through poor decisions and choices. However there are also hard things we have to face in this life which we have no control over. God does not cause catastrophe to come upon us but He can and does use these experiences to prepare us for the future, exactly as we were doing for Shiloh.
Some of the things we may need to learn to handle without being overly troubled include: bridling our tongue, not always getting our own way, giving with unselfish motives, forgiving, loving unconditionally, accepting others for who they are (which means NOT trying to change them into what we want them to be), yielding our time and resources to serve others, over-coming obstacles with a positive attitude, loosing loved ones, dealing with difficult people in a gracious and merciful manner, praying for enemies, fears of being hurt or rejected, abuse, storms, health issues, accidents and injuries, the list could go on and on and on.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
1 Peter 1: 6-7 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
John 16:33 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus warned that “in [this] world, you will have tribulation.” We will face many rejections, roadblocks, and even landmines in our lives. Sometimes God allows us to face these challenges to teach, test, or even redirect us. Learn to view these hardships as opportunities to make yourself stronger. Even though every one of us will face trails and troubles in this life we can stand on the promises of God which tell us He will provide, He will work things out for our good, He will restore us, and make us strong, firm, and steadfast.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
As we continued to work with Shiloh she began to let her guard down, letting go of some of the resistance. More and more she was able to handle things without getting so troubled. This is when she started saying, “I’ll do what you want in my body but my heart and mind are not in it all the way yet.
Stage 2 is Going Through the Motions
During this stage Shiloh was a lot more compliant on the outside, but on the inside she was still holding back. We could tell she was still not quite ready to let go with “full release”. Her body was in the game much of the time, and sometimes we even got her mind. But it was apparent we still did not have her heart. It seemed we would have these great breakthroughs with her and then in a couple of days it seemed to fall apart a little. It wasn’t a full-blown , “I can’t possibly do this”, like when she was in stage 1 of resistance, but it was as if she was still unsure. So we went really slow with her, I mean really slow, snail pace slow. We backed up doing things we had already done with success to give her confidence.
We also thought outside the box as much as possible creating situations we thought could help her take the next step. We spent a lot of time loving on her during this stage with massages to help her relax. There was so much brace in her neck, so we stopped to rub the knots out whenever we saw them developing. I knew until we got that brace out we would not have her mind and heart. We gave her lots of time to just think. For someone watching it would have been quite boring, because we spent a lot of time just waiting on her to figure it out.
We wanted a “full release” from her so we took the time it takes, putting pressure on when needed but more importantly taking it off when she gave the slightest indication that she was ready to respond in the appropriate manner. It seemed like this stage was going to go on forever.
Aren’t we often like this? We can go through the motions, but what is in our mind and heart is also important.We work pretty hard to get the outside looking good, don’t we? But 1 Samuel 16 says, “God looks on the heart.”
Luke 16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
What you think about all day; that’s the real you. Jesus knows the bitterness behind those nice words; He knows the jealousy behind the smiles, the lust behind your lectures on sin. He knows the pride behind all that Christian service. He knows the thoughts of unfaithfulness that maybe you’re covering up with words of love.
Jesus wants to be the Lord of what you think about, not just what you do. In fact, the wonderful possibility is given to us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
So, let Christ invade the real you, not just the one everybody can see. You need Him in your mind all day. He already knows what’s going on there. So talk to Him about it, be honest about it, release His power to change your mind. The Bible says that we can “be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” That’s the power of a living Christ inside of you if you will open up all the closets in your mind with all the darkness and monsters in it for Him to change.
The greatest strongholds for the kingship of Jesus Christ are in our mind, and they can be, and they must be, surrendered to His will.
We would be wrong to think this change in the mind happens overnight. But we would be equally wrong to assume change never happens at all. It may come in fits and spurts—an “aha” here, a breakthrough there. But it comes, little by little. Yes, you may have days of set backs, but God is patient with us going as slow as we need, like we were with Shiloh.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But we also challenged Shiloh to ensure she kept moving forward. God loves us too much to leave us where we are. Therefore just as we began training with Shiloh after her adoption, the Lord begins to train us after our adoption, so that eventually we are NOT just going through the motions any more, but our heart, mind and body are all working together for His glory.
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity,
1 Corinthians 9:24-2624 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Once we decide that we will stop resisting the plan of God and choose to accept and receive his love, forgiveness and adoption we are converts. A convert includes internalization of a new belief system. It implies a new reference point for the convert’s self-identity, and is a matter of belief.
Could it be possible for someone to say with their mouth “I believe” but in their heart they may simply be going through the motions? They might even go to church, and by all outward appearances the physical body is doing the right things at least some of the time. But what exactly is happening on the inside? Could it be that like Shiloh they haven’t fully given their heart and mind to the Master quite yet?
I can’t answer the above questions for you, only you and the Lord know the truth which is in your heart. I am still in the process of yielding all of my heart and mind to the Lord, Jesus Christ. I can say that I am a lot further along than I have ever been. Each day it gets easier to release another piece of me because He is so loving, faithful, and trust worthy. Remember we spent a lot of time loving on Shiloh giving her massages, letting her lick and chew on things during this stage. God is gracious and merciful he will give you time to figure it all out.
Well Part 2 is already too long, so I hope you will continue reading Part 3 of “Saving Shiloh” and really it is the best part. Maybe I should make this into a book because I have so much more to share. At the beginning of this entry I quoted from 1 Peter, I would like to end this Part 2 of “Saving Shiloh” by going back to that promise.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
REST in the deep assurance of the unfailing Love of Jesus. Let your body, mind, and spirit relax in His Presence. Release into His care anything that is troubling you, so that you can focus your full attention on Him. Be awed by the vast dimensions of His Love for you: wider, longer, higher, and deeper than anything you know. Rejoice that this marvelous Love is yours forever!
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.