Dress Your Horse
“A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from the Lord” (Proverbs 21:30).
This verse hangs on the wall in the arts office at Journey, because it’s a value that we believe strongly in. It’s the value of excellence. We want people to leave the weekend worship experience feeling like they just met with God–that an environment of excellence was created–that we did our absolute best to remove distractions and create environments for people to have a real, authentic encounter with God. So we prepare, and we rehearse, and we prepare and we rehearse some more. Because we think God deserves our best.
But there is a real danger here isn’t there? The danger is to make this “striving for excellence” the end in itself–that’s why can’t ignore the second half of that verse, “But victory comes from the Lord.” Without warning, all our preparation can become the all-consuming passion. Our pursuit of excellence becomes the pursuit of our heart. And the final goal is the performance itself. See, this is backwards. But I think it often goes unrealized. Instead, the all-consuming passion must be the God to whom deserves our excellence, and the pursuit of our heart must be to pursue Him, and the final goal must be — Him. And I think our church understands this. And I think that’s why this verse resonates with me so much.
We are in a battle. We’re in a battle for the souls of men and women on their way to an eternity without God. We’re in a battle for the minds of our students. We’re in a battle for families on the verge of disaster. So, we’ve got to suit up. We’ve got to get our horse ready for battle. We dress him. And we dress him nice. And we dress him with the best armor that we’ve got. Because he’s not just any horse. He’s a horse riding in God’s army. He’s a stallion that will strike fear into the enemy and muster courage among his comrades.
We dress him and then we, what? Do our best? Fight more and talk less? Get out there and just swing at something? No. We prepare our horse, and then we get out of the way. We get out of the way and let God have His victory. Because the victory belongs to Him. Often we forget that.
This morning I was teaching a 1st grade class, and I decided to try one of those random question polls on them that usually elicit funny responses. I wasn’t disappointed. So I asked them, “What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘victory‘?” Caroline, who is 6, said, “I don’t know why but it makes me think of sometime later.” Hmm… While I was still wondering what came earlier, I asked Seth, who is also 6. He said, “You’re strong!” I was grateful. Erin, who qualified her age by an extra six months, said, “I think of life when I hear that.” Diego, wanting to be done with me quickly and to get back to his math game, said, “Me too.” Interesting answers from 6 year olds.
You know what victory is? It’s at the end of the day knowing that the Gospel was preached, lives were radically altered for eternity’s sake, Jesus was lifted up, the devil was kicked in the jaw and people left saying, “Wow! God was there!” (1 Corinthians 14:23-25)
Let’s dress our horse and get out of God’s path of victory.