Have you ever heard the old adage about horses? It says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” But what about when the horse is an Arabian, and the horse’s trainer doesn’t want him to drink?
Well, I’ll explain that little conundrum in a moment, but before I do I want to welcome you to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for sharing this time with me. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
Arabian horses were originally bred in the desert by Bedouins, and their training is rigorous. The key outcome desired of the training is trust, which leads to obedience. The horses must learn to fully obey their master, and so they must learn to fully trust him.
This obedience is tested by depriving the horses of water for many days and then turning them loose near water. As the horses get to the edge of the water, and just before they drink of the much needed water, the trainer blows his whistle. If the horses have learned to obey they turn around and come back to the trainer who then gives them as much water as they need. The trainer is carefully observing. He knows what his horses need and will not allow them to die of thirst. But they must learn to trust him.
God knows what His children need and wants to supply it, but we too must learn to trust Him and obey Him. The key is listening for the call of the Master.
Today’s verse says THOSE WHO LISTEN TO MY MESSAGE AND BELIEVE IN GOD WHO SENT ME HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
When Jesus spoke those words, He was delivering an absolute promise. Yesterday we spoke about faith coming from hearing the word of Christ. Our hearing His words is intended to stir up a longing deep within us, like a thirst that cannot be quenched by anything other than Christ Himself.
There’s a sense in which you and I are like Desert Arabian horses. Trust is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus. Though the initial stages of our life and relationship are often sweet and intimate, facing times of difficulty and challenge are necessary if we are to fully develop. Those times are like a desert. They feel dry, and often God seems somehow distant. You find yourself wondering where He may have gone, and if you’ve done something to drive Him away. In other words, you’re becoming aware of a spiritual thirst.
The key goal of times like this is not to develop endurance in spite of thirst, as valuable as that may be. It is to develop TRUST. Because when we learn trust, we are free to submit to His lordship. It is our willing submission that opens the vast provision of His blessings, gifts and power. Like the Desert Arabian horse, we must learn to fully obey our master; and so we must learn to fully trust Him.
Christ often uses another example to teach us this lesson, that of a shepherd and his sheep. He says that His sheep hear His voice. He knows them, and they know Him and His voice. As He calls them, they willingly follow Him. Then He makes a strange statement, given the context of the shepherd-sheep illustration He’s making. He says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” Belief and obedience go hand in hand. He calls, they follow.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life. It’s a life and death decision. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. The will of God the Father is that everyone who sees His Son believes in him and receives eternal life. Life leads to lordship, obedience is the path of blessing and intimacy.
I recently heard a pastor say, “Is God my friend? Of course! But God was my LORD before He was my friend. My friendship with God can only go where His Lordship has already been.”
Listening leads to Lordship. Obedience leads to blessing. Eternal life begins here and now as we walk out our faith, utilize our gifts and expand His Kingdom.
THOSE WHO LISTEN TO MY MESSAGE AND BELIEVE IN GOD WHO SENT ME HAVE ETERNAL LIFE