Getting a horse changes you, finding Jesus will do even more

Getting a horse changes you, finding Jesus will do even more

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

If you’ve never been involved in the industries before, then you decide to ‘get into’ horses or ‘get into’ rodeo, it changes you.

You suddenly start wearing different clothes, you learn new terms and expressions that go with what you’re learning about the horse, I mean, not everyone knows what withers are or what a honda is on a rope. The people you spend time with change as you surround yourself with others who share your interest that you want to learn from or ride or rodeo with.

Friends and family will notice the changes when horses or rodeo become important to you and begin making it more a part of your every day life.

When we become Christians, it’s the same thing, only more.

It isn’t an interest we’re engaged in, it’s a complete transformation. Once we have a saving faith in Jesus, God no longer sees us for our sins that He must judge. Instead, He sees us through the sacrifice Jesus made, as perfect, extended grace for the mistakes He knows we will continue to make.

Ephesians 4:22-24 To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

There’s lots that can be unpacked in these two verses but we’re going to just focus on what Paul is saying in his letter about being the new self.

God no longer sees the old self that Paul refers to. The old self is corrupt and condemned. The new self is seen as righteous and holy. Really simplified, it means we’re now seen as perfect. This is one of the verses where we come to understand this is how God sees us once we are saved.

Again, it doesn’t mean we are perfect, it means God sees us that way despite mistakes we might continue to make. We start a process of becoming ‘sanctified’ which means being made more like Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

We understand that it’s through the Holy Spirit that we begin to change by what’s described as ‘the sanctifying work of the Spirit.”

Our friends and family might start seeing changes in us over night or gradually. For the person who decides to take up horsemanship or team roping, they choose to pursue those interests but as a Christian, the Spirit begins to work out those changes in us. We start to study our Bibles to learn more about how to be more like Jesus and to understand everything God has for us in His word. We connect with other believers we find at work or in rodeo or the sales barn and we find ourselves learning and spending time with them.

We prepare to rodeo, we need to prepare to serve God

We prepare to rodeo, we need to prepare to serve God

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

There are things we do in advance to prepare before getting on a bull or even being ready to get on our roping horse. We have to do these things or our next steps are guaranteed to fail or get us hurt.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Scripture is the same. This verse is where the idea comes from that the Bible is God’s living word, because it is God-breathed, meaning He gave life to it.

That alone should be enough to make us want to read our Bibles but then Paul tells us in his second letter to Timothy that the Bible prepares us for everything in advance. It teaches us what’s right and good, it can be used to give us correction when we’re wrong and it trains us to be more like Jesus. And, it prepares us for every good thing God has for us to do. Everything.

So basically, not just reading the Bible, but applying what we learn from it prepares us for what God has in store for us and prepares us to be used by God to help others learn from God’s living word.

Once we have a saving faith in Jesus and we’ve repented and asked for forgiveness of our sins, we’re still going to mess up and grace is there for when we do. God still loves and forgives us. We don’t have to do anything to earn His love, but just like there are things we have to do to succeed in the arena, God does have work prepared for us to do. Reading the Bible is what we need to do to prepare for what God wants us to do and to succeed in it.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Again, we can’t earn our salvation but once we’re saved, God didn’t mean for us to do nothing. We are His handiwork; He made us and through our relationship with Jesus, he wants us to do good things. He begins to help us become more like Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit in us and he created us to do good works. Works are the actions we take that God prepared for us to do. They can be anything from sharing the gospel with a traveling partner going down the road to using the skills God gave us to help fix the car of a neighbor or a single mom struggling financially just to make it.

He’s prepared work for us in advance and we need to take steps to be ready to do that work. Reading the Bible is the first step to understanding what good works are; living out what it teaches is the next.

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