There are two spirits that are always struggling for control of our minds. I know there are many of you who have burdens on your hearts and in your minds—financial, spiritual, emotional, and physical burdens. I invite you to take God at His Word and cast those anxieties, those burdens, those worries upon Christ, because He is our Burden-bearer. He knows best how to meet the needs and to use the circumstances to draw us close to Him. Do that now, so as we open God’s Word, those things are not the first burden in your heart but God’s Word and seeking what He has for you is first in your hearts.
As I have pondered about the Holy Spirit, three identical sounding words—homophones—came to my mind: rein, rain, and reign. They sound exactly the same, but they are quite different in spelling and definition. Sounding the same is all, really, that they have in common, except they each apply to the Holy Spirit.
Originating from a Latin word, the root of which is to arrest, the first noun definition of rein, given by Webster’s, is: “The strap of a bridle fastened to the curve or a snaffle on each side by which the rider of a horse restrains and governs him.” If we “give rein,” it gives license to the animal to leave without restraint; we have no control. To “take the reins” is to take guidance or government; to give a restraining influence, a guiding power. The verb definition of rein is to govern—check or direct—by a bridle.
The second word we will look at is rain. The verb definition of this word is “to fall in drops from clouds” or “as water, to pour or shower down from the upper regions like rain from the clouds.” Ibid. In the Scriptures, the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven.” Exodus 16:4. When witnessing a severe thunderstorm, we sometimes use the expression, “It is raining cats and dogs.” The noun form of rain is “the descent of water in drops from the clouds.” Ibid. It is different from mist or fog, because the drops are visible.
The third word we will consider is reign. The verb definition of this word is: “to possess or exercise sovereign power or authority to rule or exercise governmental authority as a king or queen or emperor.” Ibid. The noun form refers more to the “royal authority, supreme power, sovereignty as the queen, or emperor.” Ibid.
I have thought a lot about those words, because I like words. My dad was an English teacher, and my mom was an early grade teacher; so words were always fun. As a family, we played games with dictionaries. Our first books were encyclopaedia sets. We had all kinds of fun with words and things at our house.
The Holy Spirit begins in our life with rein. “. . . the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins.” Psalm 7:9. In this verse, “the hearts” refers to our emotions, and the governing power of our minds or ourselves is referred to by “the reins.” Rein associates with the governing power of man over an animal. It is attached to a bridle with a bit in the mouth of the horse or oxen, so that it is uncomfortable for the animal not to submit. There are types of bits that make it even more uncomfortable for the animal when it is being “broken”; its will is being broken to be in submission to the master.
This is especially meaningful to me, because one of the places God has worked, and continues to work, with me is found in James 1:26: “If any man [or woman] among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his [or her] tongue, but deceiv-eth his [or her] own heart, this man’s [or woman’s] religion [is] vain.” Vain is not a good description of how we want to be. We are to bridle our tongues. Our words betray very quickly who our master is.
I appreciate the beginning of the following verse very much, because it starts, “I,” referring to God. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8. This is part of the rein. It is not a bit and bridle here, but He instructs us and teaches us that He can guide us simply with the way He looks. Sometimes that look tells us, “That person is who you need to talk to today,” or “That person is who you need to touch today.” It tells us, also, “Do not be like the horse or the mule which have no understanding.” God gives us understanding, “whose mouth must be held with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Verse 9. I like the way this ends in verse 11, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” That is what happens when the reins of the Holy Spirit bridle our mouths, and we can follow Him, even with the glance of His eye, to know where to go and what to do.
Another way that rein is used is found in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 300, “God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God’s work at every point. Workers may make mistakes, but you should give them a chance to correct their errors, give them an opportunity to learn caution, by leaving the work in their hands.” So sometimes we can learn things that we need to learn, but if we give someone a job to do, we should not quickly jerk it out of their hands.
Our next definition is for rain. Rain nourishes the earth and all growing things. I hope that you have had the opportunity to have your windows open when it is raining. I so much enjoy hearing the rain, then, as the rain stops, listening to the birds as they start singing and the little crickets and bugs as they start their chirping. Everything feels so clean and smells so fresh after a rain shower. Rain purifies and cleanses.
The work of the reins, the bit and bridle, that move us to where God’s eye even guides us, leads to the early rains that germinate the seed. The seed is the Word of God in our lives as we are led by the Holy Spirit. In James 5:7, 8 it says, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” There the early rain and latter rain are connected with the preparation for the Lord’s coming. Christ longs for us to receive that early rain to germinate the seed, and the latter rain to ripen and bring to fruition the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
The showers of rain we receive remind me of the refreshing—that rain that cleanses us, that leads us and guides us. The rain from the Holy Spirit will bring something else: “The presence of the Spirit with God’s workers will give the presentation of the truth a power that not all the honor or glory of the world can give.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 22. Only the Holy Spirit can give that kind of power. “The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amidst the unfriendliness of relatives, the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own imperfections and mistakes.” Ibid. He does not cast us off because of us. He works with us; He cleanses us; He purifies us; He changes us.
The last word we will study is reign, which is associated with authority or rule of a sovereign. Psalm 146:10 says, “The Lord shall reign for ever.” One of my favorite verses is Revelation 19:6: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
God wants to take the reins of our minds, the reins of our hearts and bring us into submission to His will. We can fight that, but He wants to reign as ruler in our hearts. We must give Him the reins; we must allow His rain to cleanse us that He may reign. The Word of God is true; He will reign forever. The question is, “Will we allow Him to reign in our lives today so that He may reign forever in your heart or my heart?” The only way that He can do that is to now give Him the reins to our hearts and our minds; ask Him, and participate, enjoy, revel in the early and latter rains that He sends, the refreshing that He brings. Place Him on the throne to reign moment by moment and day by day.
I like lists, and many years ago, in my studies, I came across this Ellen White statement which includes a list that will help us prepare for the rein, rain, and reign. “Seek the Lord most earnestly, put away your sins, and tarry in Jerusalem till ye be endowed with power from on high. Let God set you apart to the work. Purify your souls by obeying the truth.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 443. Those are the five things on the list.
“Seek the Lord most earnestly, put away your sins, and tarry [where you are] till you are endowed with power from on high. Let God set you apart to the work. Purify your souls by obeying the truth. Faith without works is dead. Put not off the day of preparation. Slumber not in a state of unpreparedness, having no oil in your vessels with your lamps. Let none leave their safety for eternity to hang upon a peradventure. Let not the question remain in perilous uncertainty. Ask yourselves earnestly, Am I among the saved, or the unsaved? Shall I stand, or shall I not stand? He only that hath clean hands and a pure heart shall stand in that day.” Ibid. [Emphasis in original.]
May you allow the Holy Spirit to take your reins today, so you are prepared to receive the early rain and latter rain that you may enjoy forever the kingdom which reigneth forever.
[All emphasis added unless otherwise noted.]
Paula Currey, a surgical nurse, lives near Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Steve. She may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.