We typically use bridles and bits with horses to get them to go where we want them to. But if you and your horse have spent enough time together and know how to communicate, eventually you don’t need a bridle. You can just hop up onto the horse’s bare back without so much as a halter or lead rope, and the horse will just go where you ask, sometimes without anyone being able to see how you’re directing the horse.
Let’s think about this in the context of obeying God. You and I have more willful natures than a horse, so sometimes even though God would like to spend time teaching us how to respond properly, we just refuse to learn or even refuse to come to Him in the first place. But with more patience than you and I would need with even the most stubborn horse, God teaches us, gently and firmly continuing the lesson or letting us run around for a while as appropriate.
God doesn’t want us to need bridles. He’s trying to get them off of us, especially when they’re being pulled on by someone else or have gotten tangled up and tight. God wants us to obey Him because we want to, not because we have to. God wants to build a relationship with us and communicate with us so well that sometimes other people can’t tell when or how He gave us an instruction. He wants us to enjoy each other’s company so much, that whenever He comes to the pasture He doesn’t need to go catch us, we just come because we’re happy to be with Him.
Let’s strive to work together with God so that the merest word or movement from Him is the only prompting we need to obey.