The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Training Trigger

Posted on: February 07, 2017


Roy Rogers was an American actor who was one of the most popular Western stars of the 20th century. Known as the “King of the Cowboys”, he starred in over 100 movies and had his own TV show for years, capturing the hearts of children all across America.

Roy had a horse named Trigger that was almost as famous as Roy. An unusually intelligent horse, he seemed to understand the process of acting and scene shooting. Trigger got to the point at which he could anticipate many of Roy’s instructions and commands, and played a major roll in Roy’s fame.

Through enlightened and consistent training, Roy was able to get Trigger to do virtually everything he wanted him to do, and it was so remarkable that we’re talking about it today.

Whether in movies or on television, anywhere Roy went, he went on Trigger. If Roy needed him, he could whistle and Trigger would come running and slide to an abrupt stop no more than a foot or two from him. If Roy needed to flee danger or pursue a runaway stagecoach, Trigger was the answer. It’s safe to say that Roy would not have been all that he was without Trigger.

But let’s imagine that Roy hadn’t trained Trigger. Let’s imagine that whenever Roy got on Trigger, he just let Trigger go wherever Trigger wanted to go and do whatever Trigger wanted to do. Would Roy Rogers have had a successful movie and television career with that kind of a horse?

Let’s say in the next scene in the movie, Roy was supposed to run out of the bank, jump on Trigger, and start chasing the bad guys who had just robbed the bank. So Roy hops on Trigger and is supposed to start speeding north after the robbers. But instead, Trigger just starts leisurely trotting south. Roy pleads with Trigger to turn around and start galloping after the robbers, but instead Trigger stops and begins gently munching a bunch of daisies in front of the Empty Bucket saloon.

Roy finally loses his cool and starts spurring Trigger and yanking on the reins. Trigger has had about enough of this, so he bucks and rears and throws Roy to the ground. So there’s Roy, on his back staring up at the clouds while Trigger meanders east, more than slightly ruffled, in search of more daisies.

What kind of movie career would Roy have had if he had let Trigger call the shots?

We are in a similar situation with our flesh. Everywhere we go, we have to go with our flesh. If we need to flee danger, we have to flee in our flesh. If we need to pursue righteousness, we have to pursue it in our flesh. We are not our flesh, but everywhere we go, we are “riding” our flesh… and if our flesh is not trained, we will not get where we need to go.

In Romans 7:18-20, the Apostle Paul wrote about this distinction between his true self – the inner man (the new self, which is holy and righteous, Ephesians 4:24), and the sin that dwells in him – his flesh:

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

This tells us that we are not our flesh, we are just housed in the body of flesh. One day, when we die, we will be freed from the gravitational pull of the flesh, to live in uncontaminated righteousness.

For now though, Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

This tells us that we must train our flesh to discern good and evil, and by implication, to do good.

So in the movie of our life, wherever we go, we have to ride our flesh, Trigger. In the movie, we are supposed to be running away from some bad guys. So we hop on Trigger, to gallop east away from the bad guys, and instead of galloping east, Trigger starts trotting west, toward the danger! Not good.

Or let’s say that we are supposed to start walking proudly up Main Street at the head of a Fourth of July parade, and Trigger starts bucking and rearing right there in front of the whole crowd. Embarrassing!

Or let’s say that Trigger is supposed to carry us across a dangerous river, but instead lies down in the sand on the riverbank, and rolls to scratch his back. Frustrating!

The movie of our life is not going to be very successful. In fact, it’s going to be a disaster.

Now that we understand the difference between the righteous inner man (Roy Rogers) and the sinful outer man (Trigger), we can be alert to the fact that whenever we are tempted to do something that is wrong, is not us, it’s Trigger!

And we don’t want to go, and we don’t have to go, where Trigger wants to go! We can go where Roy wants to go – if we will just train Trigger!

So, our great task in the movie of our life is to train Trigger so that if we need to run north, we run north. If we need to walk south, we walk south. If we need to stand quietly, we stand quietly.

And when we have Trigger trained, it is a marvel to behold, and we become movie stars in the theaters of heaven.


Please, “Like” my Facebook page at and invite your friends to do the same. If you know someone you think may find this blog valuable, please forward it to them. I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at I will not be able to answer all emails, but I may address in future blogs the questions/issues you raise.