Thursday, November 1, 2012

Soul Training - Bible Study (Intro/Willingness)

Soul Training in the Barn


Horse lovers may find this a Bible Study that speaks to their heart.  I wrote this some time ago for friends who are Horse Trainers.  It is written with their 'voice' as my horse knowledge is limited.  Susan Bedford of Down Home Farms here in Richburg is truly a co-writer on this as she allowed me to pick her brain for parallels to share.  This blog format is not the easiest way to read this, but it was the most efficient way for me to share it publicly.  If you would like me to email the full study to you as a Word document, I would be glad to do that.

The prayer of this study is that it will help you draw closer to Jesus Christ, to fully enjoy a relationship with Him. 

I am more than delighted to respond to personal questions, challenges and criticisms.  To God be the Glory, let's grow together.  This has a few chapters but to get you started, I will only include one.  BUILD a great relationship with Jesus and the rest of life will fall into place.
We believe that training is the only way to experience fully the possibilities that exist in a horse and rider partnership.  We train horses to open up possibilities for their untrained horse is of little use.  We train riders to develop skills so they can guide horses toward good purposes.   Both types of training are all about fulfilled potential. 

In the life of the Christian, Soul Training has the same purpose.  Human beings have great possibilities…and God has great plans for each individual soul.  But if the soul is allowed to do its own thing, potential is wasted.  Just as we believe that the relationship of a horse and rider can be a beautiful thing, we believe that a cooperative relationship between a person and God is the only way for an individual to live to the fullest.   In this study we will focus on three aspects of training:  submission, respect and obedience.

Training our soul has a lot in common with the training of a horse.  God created the human soul to be strong and resilient.  Our souls are made up of our mind, our emotions and our will.  Horses, like man, have a thinking side (mind) and a reacting side (emotions).  Each also have a will that wants its own way.

* In every man and woman, the will wants to set the course of our life.  Horses, too, prefer to be in charge. 

* We use our minds.  We get thoughts in our head and tend to be convinced that our thoughts are the best ones ever.  Horses are no different; they like their own thoughts far better than ours. 

* Created in the image of God, emotions are part of our design.  However, emotions were never intended to rule our lives.  We find something we love and look for every chance to indulge that love.  Horses form habits in the same way.  Those things they love, they do without restraint if possible.

 The will is the key to training the soul and the key to training the horse.  Without the will engaged--without ‘want to’--no progress is possible.  A willingness to ’be trained’ is the first necessity--in horse and man. 



Willingness begins with an awareness--or a desire--for something more.  Man--unlike most horses--is born with a longing for connection.  The Creator built a need for relationships into the design of man because He longed to share His love with those who could love Him back.   Sin broke that connection to God—just as God knew it would—so He demonstrated the depths of His love by sending His son to die for His rebellious creation.  Let’s take the time to go back to the beginning and look at God’s Word.

* Genesis 1:26-28, 31

The remainder of Genesis 2 tells more of all God gave to mankind.  The love of God is generous.  There was nothing lacking.  But love does not demand its own way.  God gave mankind the option to choose to love Him back--or to love independence more.  That choice is an on-going temptation we all face.  It creates a competing desire to be the one in charge--to be like God.  And there is an enemy, who enjoys enticing man to fulfill this desire apart from God.
* Genesis 3:1-8

How did Satan begin his conversation with Eve?

Compare Eve’s response in Chapter 3, verse 3 with God’s actual words to Adam in Chapter 2, verse 17.

In effect, what was Satan calling God when he told Eve she would not die.  How was his statement true?

What did Satan tell Eve she would gain by eating of the forbidden Tree?

What did the Tree of Knowledge actually give to Eve--and Adam?

What did it take away?

The remainder of Genesis 3 explains the full results of disobedience to God.  The beauty is that ’open eyes’ allow us to see need.  Adam and Eve had been innocent in the Garden of Eden but not pure.   They already had all that Satan tempted them with--they already were like God but they did not recognize it.  Seeing a need is the first step toward a willingness to move toward the plans and purposes of God.

 Horses do not see a need for training.  Some horses crave the company of people--but that is not a craving for discipline and training.  Human owners recognize a need for training and bring horses to a trainer.  The first step in Horse Training is to build a desire in the horse’s heart.   The horse needs to be willing to submit his power and potential to the will of the trainer.

 The position of a horse’s head reveals much about their attitude.  A high, swinging head proclaims power and rule from the horse’s perspective.  A lowered head speaks of submission--a willingness to heed the commands of another.  Motivating the horse to ‘give’ his head to the trainer takes wisdom and time.  God is a wise and patient trainer of souls.  He continually calls to us with love—leaving the response to us.


* How do we humans toss our heads and declare our right to make our own decisions? 

* What desires do we have that rule our lives? 

* What keeps us intent on our will…rather than do what is ‘logical’—bowing to the will of the all-powerful, all-knowing God?

What does the Psalmist say is the way to achieve our desires?

 *Psalm 37:4-7

*Proverbs 3:5-7

 What does scripture say about man’s plans?

*Proverbs 19:21

*Micah 4:12

*Luke 12:18-21

*James 4:13-15

Does God have plans for us?

*Jeremiah 29:11

*John 10:10

What kinds of things in life bring us to a point of submission?

*Ecclesiastes 9:12

*Ezekiel 14:4-5

*Deuteronomy 8:2

*John 6:5-6

*How does trusting God to handle our lives bring to life the promises of  Romans 8:28-29?

The willingness to come to God trusting Him to meet our needs is the first step in Soul Training.  Pride led to the downfall of angels--and to the separation of man from the Creator.  Without our soul connected to the Giver of life, our potential is limited.  Bowing our head before Him begins our soul training and sets us on the way to His great purposes!

Isaiah 14:12-14 gives the thoughts & words of Lucifer--the enemy of God and our souls.  When our attitude is one that lifts us up--rather than lifting up the Creator--we, too, are enemies of God.  Instead, Philippians 2:5-10 show the attitude of a soul in training.  Let us make that our closing prayer for this section:

Father, make my attitude like Christ’s  who willingly made himself nothing--who left the glories of heaven for the surroundings of a barn and put your will first in everything even laying down his life for Your purposes.  Help me trust You to lift me up to all I can be.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen



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