There is a very well known saying that has existed for quite some time now. The saying that I am referring to goes something like this, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” I am sure many of you have heard of this saying. It basically means that a horse can be directed, and even brought to a stream of water but the person leading the horse cannot make him drink the water. Similarly, there are people who lack understanding in certain areas of biblical doctrine and we as ministers desire to see them come to the knowledge of the truth. However, coming to the knowledge of the truth is not something we as ministers can produce in a person. We can share with them the soundness of the scriptures, we can encourage them to study for their own but we cannot open their understanding to the Spiritual Truths of the Bible. Notice how Jesus explained the “grasping” of the scriptures to his disciples:
“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” (Luke 24:45 KJV).
Although the disciples of Jesus Christ heard the sayings of Jesus, it wasn’t until God opened their understanding that they could rightly discern what he was saying. It was at this point that they began to “drink” if you will, the Water of Life freely. It is God alone that can open a person’s “spiritual ears” to the truth of his Word.
There have been numerous instances where we have spoken the sound Word of God to people but they still cannot understand the sound doctrine. It isn’t a hearing issue (physical) because they clearly have ears. It isn’t a mental issue, as they clearly have capacity for learning. It goes beyond the physical sensations and physiology of the being. It is rather a spiritual matter. The human spirit in the man has not been granted access to the sacred knowledge of the holy scriptures. While they may have a fraction of understanding regarding spiritual concepts pertaining to the Word of God, they are still stunted in areas where they are unwilling to be obedient to particular truths of doctrine. This unwillingness goes back to the horse and water analogy. Now while it is solely God who grants understanding, there is a fraction of human will that coincides with that God-Given blessing of truth awareness.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8).
James clearly tells us that human effort is essential in bringing in God’s grace to an individual. The length of the human effort is only known by God for he is the one who weighs the hearts. Only God knows if a person is being sincere. Only god knows if the individual has a desire or is truly willing to understand the truth he is being led to. When God sees that a person is drawing nigh and has an eagerness for growth he will then open their understanding.
The blockages that hinder the individual from the truth can be various. Some of the blockages that can hinder the reception of truth are:
Man-made traditional beliefs.
Lack of desire.
A dumb spirit (demon).
Lack of humility.
Not wanting to admit the error of their ways.
These are the most common blockages. Demons can play a major part in hindering a person from the truth as well. These blockages can persist the length of one’s life. If that is the case then the individual will die without knowledge. God’s people perish for a lack of knowledge. Notice the two scriptures below that speak on a few hindrances that will bind a person to spiritual death:
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23).
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16).
While it is vital that we share with the unlearned the truth of God’s Word, we must understand that we can only lead a horse to water but we cannot make him drink. When ministering to the unlearned and stubborn you must recognize that sound the Biblical doctrine you transmit is piercing through years of false doctrine they have been embedded in and they will perceive the truth as an attack! They cannot see the extension of God’s grace by a loving Christian wanting them to understand the truth. The blockages spoken of earlier are in effect. At times you will be able to discern which blockages are taking center stage. In many of my dealings with the stubborn or unlearned, it’s usually PRIDE that is blocking them from receiving truth.
When one receives the truth that you share with them, that is a Gift from God. God has opened their eyes and granted them repentance to the error of their ways. We cannot as ministers of the Word of God take any credit for that. We can only water and sow the Word of God. It is God alone that gives the increase!
I take great delight in getting feedback from those we have assisted and led to the Water of life, the Truth. They come to an understanding of the scriptures and I can’t but give God the Glory! It’s a beautiful thing to have one’s eyes opened to truth.
“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” (Psalm 97:11)
To my brothers and sisters in the faith that are laboring the Word of God to the lost and unlearned, I encourage you to continue doing so. However, we must remember that we are given command in the Epistle of Titus to use discretion when sharing our Pearls of wisdom:
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 3:10).
We mustn’t waste our time and cast our pearls before swine. God will give you discernment as to those he would want you to move on from. God will use his ministers to transmit his truth to those who have been granted understanding for they are the Elect of God. He will also use his ministers to confirm destruction upon by having his truth rejected by the non-elect of God. They that will reject the truth of his word will perish.
“Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:31).