“Rein it in” was one of my mother’s favorite sayings. Well, at least with me. Since I was always emoting over one thing or another, my introverted mother often repeated this term she’d heard her granddad use with the mules. “Don’t let that animal meander. Rein it in.”
Several years ago, I found that this idea is a Biblical one. The Hebrew word “tuchah” literally means “the reins.” So even my limited time with horses understands that the purpose of a rein is for the animal’s restraint or control.
David used this imaginative word in Psalm 51:6. “Behold, You desire truth in the tuchah.” Although most English versions translate this word as ‘innermost being,’ using this equestrian term grants us a fantastic revelation.
God delights in truth, sourcing from the hidden reins of my soul.
At the wellspring of our thoughts, there is the prerogative of our will. Connected to the bit and bridle of our heart, this rein can either restrain or release words and actions. Although we have sole ownership over this halter, God desires we hand over these reins to be guided by truth.
Albert Barnes, a 19th-century commentator, explains this idea well. “The word (tuchah) rendered ‘inward parts,’ means properly, the reins, and is usually employed to denote the seat of the mind, the feelings, the intellect.
As I pray in this regard, I realize God is not as concerned with the outcome as with the attitude. Brother Lawrence wrote about this from a Carmelite monastery in the mid-1600s. “Our sanctification,” he said, “does not depend upon changing our works, but in doing for God’s sake all those things which we commonly do for our own.”
“Father, You see the root of who I am. You know not only what I will do, but my every motivation. Therefore, I ask that You not only prepare my heart to receive Truth but that You touch the reins of my soul to desire Truth. Only then will You be in Your proper place in my life” (John 14:6).
“As I think about _______, I ask you to expose the source of his (anger, manipulation, control, materialism, anxiety, etc.). He needs the restraint of truth so that you can begin the work of repentance and restoration. Reveal to him the reins of his heart that he may hand them over to You.
Set up Your perfect reign in our lives by taking control of our reins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”