What Toddlers, Mules, and Grown-Ups Have in Common

Most dinner conversations at our house revolve around negotiations. Mainly with our oldest. He’s a picky eater, and by picky, I mean he only has about 5 foods that he will eat without complaint, bribery, and/or threats.  My mom loves to remind me that he is almost exactly like I was at his age. I don’t see how I could’ve possibly been this bad, but I digress.

A few nights ago, our conversation at the table went something like this:

Isaac: If I finish my pizza, can I have a Hershey’s Kiss? (who has to talk their kid into finishing pizza??)

Me: Finish your pizza.

Isaac: But if I finish my pizza, can I have a Hershey’s Kiss?

Me: Isaac, finish your pizza.

And then it dawned on me. Our five-pound Maltese is the same way! And so is the camel my kids ride around on in circles at the zoo. Neither one will do a thing you tell them to do without being bribed with a treat or threatened with a whip.

Ever heard the expression, “stubborn as a mule”? Psalms 32:9-10 says, “Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows (pain, grief) of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.”

When you read this entire psalm, you see that promises of forgiveness, protection, deliverance, direction, and steadfast love are given to those who humbly confess their wrongdoing and turn back to doing things God’s way. But look at the result of disobedience in the verses above: sorrow. Pain, grief, and sorrow will come to those who stubbornly continue to dig their heels in and refuse to do what God has told them to do (v. 10).

I’ve seen this plenty of times in my own life. I’ve justified my way out of apologizing to someone because they acted worse. I’ve made idols out of things and people instead of looking to God for my provision and security. I’ve reasoned myself out of obeying certain parts of scripture because I thought it was outdated or didn’t apply to me. I’ve chosen the fun and excitement of the moment over what I knew was right. And in every situation, the word of God proved true; sorrow and pain was the result of disobedience.

What is God telling you to do? What does the Holy Spirit continue to bring to your mind over and over again? Do yourself a huge favor and obey Him. You’ll save yourself a lot of pain if you lean not on your own understanding and, instead, trust His.

He will not fail you.

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