Psalm 32:9 (New International Version)
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you..
Paradigms--frameworks--what our son Peter once referred to as a set of coat hangers on which to hang our thoughts about life--we all have them. But, like fences, they can keep good things out as well as in, and they need to be examined periodically. We can miss important things when the perspective of our hearts and minds is so small that we're not open to really listening to what others have to say.
That was the problem with the Pharisees who were contemporaries of Jesus. They were so sure that they had the world securely nailed down in terms of what was right and wrong. Jesus called them "blind guides."
The Pharisees worshiped "religious systems" rather than God. It's easy to judge them smugly and miss the fact that we are all prone to being as blind as they were. It wasn't just their error that was the problem--but their rigidity in holding to their framework.
Coming to Christ in the first place requires a transformation of thinking. The apostle Paul--who was a Pharisee--threw out his religious props when he encountered the one whose followers he had been busy persecuting. He wrote from personal experience to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 5:17), "...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
If we are closed off, it may be hard for God to get through to us. In the case of Paul it took a flashing light and a voice from heaven (Acts 9:1-8) I've often read Psalm 32:9 and prayed that I would not be like a horse or mule, and that God would not need a bit or bridle to get my attention--but dismantling and letting go of my preconceived ideas hasn't been easy.
I want to spend the rest of my life living open to what he and others are saying and doing a better job of hearing. I want my frameworks to be well thought out, tested and true, so that when I have the opportunity to share them--they are sound, solid and helpful and most of all, godly.
Ephesians 1:17-18 (New International Version)
17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,