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God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? - Numbers 23:19 (NLT)
The earliest recorded use of the phrase “hold your horses” dates back to Homer's Iliad when calling for a wildly-driven chariot to slow down. “Holding your horses” is an encouragement to wait before acting, to slow down instead of rushing, to avoid precipitous action.
In my days of competitive track and field, I approached races as a front-runner. It sounds counterintuitive, but being a front-runner can actually be a mental hindrance to taking victory. Why? Well, on one hand, if you’re winning, you’ll keep on winning. But if even one person passes you, everything falls apart, and you plummet to the back of the pack.
It can work for you, but more often, it works against you—like the day I unknowingly toed the starting line alongside the American record holder in the half-mile. Ignorant of the capability of my competition, the gun went off, and I darted to the front to win the race, not knowing the pace would prove to be completely unsustainable for me. I tried, I raced. I struggled, I faded. I finally finished—doing my ugly-run—and succeeded in becoming the subject of a training video used by my university’s track team for years to come. Ha!
If I’d started at a pace that matched my actual capacity, I might have finished second or third instead of dead last. Furthermore, if I’d allowed my more experienced competitor to set the pace and guide the race, I might have learned tons more that day about racing—and about myself.
When we let God lead us instead of running ahead, when we let Him guide us instead of insisting on our own way, the outcomes are vastly different—because letting the One who is in control have the control makes all the difference in the world.
As tempting as it can be to take things out of God’s hands and handle them ourselves, ultimately, only He is in control. Hold your horses. Slow down. And let God take the lead. You don’t have to be in front to win in this race—we win by following Jesus as He sets the pace.Share Tweet
Abraham... was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. - Romans 4:17, 21 (NLT)
In 1961, a Coca-Cola ad was banned for false advertising. The words in the jingle talked about the “refreshing new feeling” Coke would provide and pictured several really happy people at a diner—laughing together, tapping their feet. The public outcry was that it was all just too good to be true. Nowadays, commercials make these kinds of claims all the time—visually, musically, and verbally—and we don’t even bat an eye. Image advertising connects a smile with a brand, a good vibe with a logo.
What a sad moment when we realize that our choice of chips, soft drinks, even deodorant didn’t make our life better or make us more engaging, likable, or fun to be around. We thought the latest and the greatest would make us happy, but it turned out that the good news those commercials shared with us wasn’t such a big deal in the first place. Marketing can leave us with the idea that pretty much everything is too good to be true, that the world promises more than it can deliver. Overpromising is so common that some marketers are now leaning the other way, toward under-promising and over-delivering.
It can leave us wondering if there’s any good news? In this savvy, cultured, skeptical setting, the Good News gets relegated in our minds to the category of a promise that might not be kept. Something in us leans toward skepticism and distrust based on how we’ve been treated by the world—whether it’s the scars of our upbringing, the cruelty of other kids, or the unexpected expenses and subsequent helplessness we feel when stuff wears out, breaks down, or fails at just the wrong time.
But here’s some great news: When you get to know God better and better, over time it becomes one of the most logical and sensible things we can do, to believe what He says and trust Him to do what only He can do—because He’s a Good Father who keeps His promises.
Put your hope in the Lord. Live as he wants you to. - Psalms 37:34 (NIRV)
Hurry can lead to mistakes. As a result, I’m not allowed to paint anything in the house anymore. Trying to cover the kitchen in a single quick, thick coat of paint led to me being banned from this task for life. I was also prohibited from touching the laundry for years after I tried to wash whites and colors together, turning our t-shirts a lovely shade of pink. And when mowing the lawn leads to flower beds being cut down to the same level as the surrounding grass… yeah. Git-r-done mode can cause us to miss out on the fulfillment that comes with a job done properly.
If you’re like me (and almost every other person on the planet), we want what we want, and we want it now. And we often reap the consequences shortly thereafter. But the backlash isn’t always immediate. Sometimes, my addiction to hurry can play out when I’m having a conversation while thinking halfway through about how I’m going to bring it to a close. Or when I’m playing in the backyard with my kids, and I’m already planning what I’m going to do after their bedtime. Anyone with me? It’s hard to be fully present when your mind is absent. The lack of peace that accompanies our hurry-sickness can seep into the water system of life and cause real problems.
It can also be costly, in more than just time, materials, and manpower. We pay the exorbitant fees of relational breakdown, interpersonal conflict, and outright stress when we try to rush projects—or people. Hold your horses, friends! Impatience can keep us from taking the long route that reveals a new possibility, opportunity, or direction we’d miss otherwise. Or it can even prevent us from abandoning a short-sighted goal that needs to be left behind. Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act. He is faithful. We can trust Him and follow His lead.
Step back and think about everything that’s on your plate and all you’re trying to accomplish. What if, instead of checking off as many boxes as quickly as possible, you asked God today which of those priorities He wants you to focus on? Pray for the Lord to help you slow down and patiently follow Him instead of running ahead without asking for His presence, power, or help.Share Tweet
...Just trust me. - Mark 5:36 (MSG)
Paul Reber of Northwestern University estimates that our brain’s memory capacity is 2.5 petabytes. That’s one million gigabytes—which is a ton. And still, somehow I seem to be pretty selective in what I choose to store in the memory banks of my brain. I tend to treat memory like a rare commodity. I make snap decisions about incoming information, whether I’ll need it again later or not. If it’s something I can look up later, I tend to not record it in the hard-drive of my mind. But some things are worth slowing down and taking the time to remember.
Today’s text is one of those. It’s been so encouraging and has so many applications that I chose to memorize it. Now, I have a friend who felt it was too hard to memorize Scripture. Maybe you feel that way. “I’m not good at memorizing the Bible,” he’d say, “so I underline it.” He was being funny, but there’s just something about committing God’s words to memory that makes a massive difference in our lives. Instead of having to turn the pages of Scripture to re-read God’s words, by memorizing them I can almost hear Jesus Himself whispering in my ear, often right when I need it. “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” I can slow down and hear from Jesus because I’ve taken the time to store up His words for ready access.
It can be Scripture that speaks, but it can also be the experiences and circumstances of our lives. When we slow down and take time to remember all God has done, when we recall His words and His faithfulness to do what He says, we grow to trust God more and more. As a result, we can avoid a mindless sense of panic. We can slow down and be deliberate. We can choose to trust God.
Get to know God. Watch Him do what He does. He’s good, He’s kind. Stop and take snapshots in your mind—mental images or phrases that remind you of these characteristics of God—so you can look back on them for help in choosing to trust Him over and above all the other responses available to us. What comes to mind for you today?Share Tweet
...travel steadily along his path... - Psalms 37:34 (NLT)
Don’t judge us, but when my son was smaller, we gave him watered down apple juice. Hey—the juice went twice as far, and everyone was happy! He just couldn’t imagine it could get any better than that. Until we made a little mistake. When he started school, we bought juice boxes to put in his lunchbox. We were totally oblivious to the fact he would discover something was up. I can see the wheels turning in his head, “OK, hold on... for some reason, apple juice at lunch is way better than it is at dinner time.“ At first, we wondered why our previously-happy little dude was questioning the goodness of his apple juice. Then it all came together for us: He had a new perspective and could ask for something he didn’t even know was possible. He’d been pleasantly breezing through life, unaware of the possibility that there was a whole ‘nother level of enjoyment to be squeezed from the juice of an apple. Now, he had the perspective to slow down and ask for what he wanted. While our apple juice bill doubled instantly, our water bill went down slightly—but that was not a fair trade! Ha!
When we move too fast, or plunge forward without thinking or stopping to ask questions, we miss things. Faster isn’t always better, and often, it’s not until we slow down that we begin to see all that we’ve missed out on. When God reveals something, we gain a new perspective. When He does or says something, the whole playing field can change in a moment. We discern His voice and His wisdom best when we wait patiently and travel steadily on His path. A life lived in the default setting of trust helps us slow down. We don’t panic because we realize eventually that we don’t have to. God keeps showing up, sticking with His promises.