Guided by the eye or turned by the bridle

James 1:26 says that a man’s religion is useless unless he bridles his tongue. Religion is here defined as the ceremonial and external aspects of religion. However, the bridle is not God’s preferred way.

Psalm 32:8-9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near yet.

The horse and mule are very good workers. They handle heavy burdens and get much done. But when the master wants to direct them in a certain way, he has to pull on the bridle so they know what to do. They cannot be guided by the eye for they are undiscerning and unresponsive to that.   And so the master remains out of their sight, utilizing the only method they will respond to – the pull of the reins from behind them. This is a picture of the religious man. He is busy with many spiritual looking things. He is such a hard worker, getting so much done. But for the master to get his attention and change his direction, he must be turned by the bridle.   He is much too busy to stop and wait to be guided by the eye. The spiritual man however, is busied with this one thing – gazing upon the master, not moving until he perceives that the master is directing him. Although this man may seem to be slothful when his activities are set alongside the feverish pace of the religious man, the things he does, having been uniquely directed by the master’s desire, are highly profitable.

You get to choose if you will be guided by the eye or turned by the bridle.