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Bucked Off My High Horse

Bucked Off My High Horse

~ by Cara Whitney

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. — James 4:7–10


The Holy Spirit replaces pride with kindness.

It was a raw, rare “oh-crud” moment for Philip. One second, the camp director was riding confidently atop Spur, a handsome mustang who stood fifteen hands high. The experienced horseman was demonstrating basic riding techniques to a group of enthusiastic junior high horse lovers. The crowd’s oohs and aahs felt pretty good. They’re lovin’ this, Philip thought to himself, and I’m totally on my game today!

But without warning, a series of loud, startling sounds — smack! thud! crunch! — sent Spur into crazy-horse meltdown... and ended up launching Philip high into the air. Nearby ranch hands had dropped a crate they were unloading from a truck, and that had spooked the horse.

With his arms flailing and his body rocketing above the arena, everything seemed to slow down, at least for a split second. Just below him Philip could make out the wide eyes of his slightly amused, slightly traumatized kids... the mouthing of unrepeatable words from his staff... the violent bucking of his crazed mustang. And then came the inevitable: a loud thud as his body made contact with the ground.

“Ouch,” he whimpered.

Philip slowly sat up and ran through a quick, mental self-triage: No blood. Everything is still attached. No harm done! (Just a seriously bruised ego.)

“My horse freaked, which is completely out of character,” Philip later explained to his campers. “He bucked me off for the first time ever.”

And since Spur is big and strong, Philip said the buck felt like a bomb had gone off under his backside. It was a sharp vertical acceleration — like nothing he had ever experienced before. But when he came back to his senses, the words of James 4:10 raced through his brain:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

  • The greatness of God should humble us. Yet for most people being humble brings to mind a form of weakness.

As believers we must walk in the footsteps of our Lord and place ourselves under His loving guidance. As we walk in humility, we enjoy the day-to-day release from stress, as God intended. Not so with pride.

The Bible has some tough words about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. — Proverbs 16:18

  • We all need to be bucked off our high horses from time to time so we can fall on our knees before Jesus.

Sure, I’ve been bucked off my horse more times than I care to remember, but I’ll never forget how it stings when I’ve been bucked off my high horse.

These have been moments when my cringeworthy comeuppance has been put on display for all to see. Around six years ago I had the wild idea that I wanted to homeschool my kids, yet because — as I have been reminded on numerous occasions — I’m not exactly qualified, and I’ve got my hands full looking after farm critters, I decided to take a different approach. I got together with some other parents with the same desire, and we found a way to pool our resources. What’s more, we hired two teachers who actually knew what they were doing.

Our modernized one-room schoolhouse was born, we were an official homeschool “group,” and it was good. Well, at least for a while.

Kids were everywhere on my farm, reading to God’s creation outside, catching frogs for science, and taking regular trips to the fishing hole. We were living my homeschool dream. It was Little House on the Prairie but with internet.

Then some real drama unfolded in our community, and it wasn’t the lighthearted, Walnut Grove kind that you’d expect from Harriet Oleson. One of our teachers was having a hard time keeping up with the number of kids in our group. The differing ages and abilities seemed to overwhelm her. And by giving 100 percent of herself to each individual student, she was quickly burning out. On top of that, I will admit, I was not giving her my full support. You see, I was unwilling to do the job myself, but willing to spout off about how easy it was to do.

“Just put some papers in front of them and let them get to work,” I’d tell her. “This isn’t that difficult.”

You see why I need Jesus?

The short version of this is, thankfully, this teacher humbly stuck it out despite my behavior. But teacher number two did not.

And this is where I had to eat a heaping portion of humble pie.

Wow! You teachers! I praise you, because for the rest of our school year, my friend Tracy and I filled in the gaps that teacher two left behind. We were exhausted by the end of it all. We saw — and experienced — what the other teacher was trying to tell us the whole time.

Teaching is difficult; I know that now.

Humility means we put others above ourselves, and it’s painful when the Holy Spirit lets us know when we are being cocky and proud because usually it ends with us being put to the ground. In this case He fed me dirt.

  • Jesus values humility.

Lord, the Bible tells me that striving to be humble is serious business to You, so I want it to be serious business in my life too. I want to submit myself to You and Your will. Give me the strength to resist the devil, and draw me into a closer walk with You. Clean me up, purify my heart, and help me to be humble before You. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Country Soul by Cara Whitney, copyright Cara Whitney.

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Your Turn

Have you ever been taught humility by the Holy Spirit the hard way? What did you learn and how did it change you? Come share with us! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily