I know it’s hard to believe, any of you that know me, but on occasion I have been accused of being stubborn. Shocking right? What one person (my husband) sees as stubborn another (me) sees as determination and decisiveness.
According to www.merriam-webster.com the definition of Stubborn is 1) unreasonably or perversely unyielding; 2) performed or carried on in an unyielding, obstinate, or persistent manner; 3) difficult to handle, manage, or treat.
I’d be lying if I denied that sometimes Merriam-Webster describes me to a T.
But more seriously, as I searched the Scriptures for what God had to say about stubbornness, hard-heartedness, rebellion, and being stiff necked – I saw myself here as well. It is so easy to look at Israel and shake our heads with a tsk-tsk, but I am more like Israel than I care to admit, and unfortunately it’s neither determination nor decisiveness – it’s just plain sin.
There are many examples of stubborn individuals (i.e. King Nebuchadnezzar– Daniel 5:20) and stubborn peoples (i.e. Israel).
In the Bible, stubbornness is associated with pride (Daniel 5:4), disobedience (Deuteronomy 9:23), rebellion (Deuteronomy 31:27), unbelief (Acts 19:9), idolatry (2 Kings 17:14-15), deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13), resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51), unfaithfulness and a wavering heart (Psalm 78:8), following one’s own counsel (Psalm 81:12), being far from righteousness (Isaiah 46:12), unwillingness to listen (Ex 3:7), being stiff-necked (Ex 32:9), and having a hardened heart (2 Chronicles 36:13).
Biblically, stubbornness screams of self and denies there is an authority or power greater than self.
So now the question is not, “Does Merriam-Webster describe me to a T?” but “Does God’s definition describe me to a T?” I dare say, at times? Yes.
To put off a stubborn spirit we begin with confession and repentance:
Put on fear of the Lord– Proverbs 28:14
Put on obedience– Ex 23:21
Put on faith and belief—Psalm 31:23
Put on submission—James 4:7
Put on a yielded spirit– 2 Chronicles 30:8
Put on a listening ear– Proverbs 1:24-25, 33
Put on Spirit and truth filled worship – John 4:24
Put on a steadfast spirit– Psalm 57:7
Put on faithfulness– Psalm 37:3
Let’s do some soul searching. Do I have a hardened heart? Am I stiff necked? Am I rebellious? Am I stubborn?
Lord, in the many ways I resist Your way, forgive me. For all the ways I fail to submit to You, forgive me. For the stubbornness in my heart, forgive me. For when I have failed to listen to You, please forgive me. Lord may there be evidence to others and to me that I have a yielded, submitted spirit.
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.