Have you ever been around a stubborn person? Perhaps you have obstinate tendencies yourself. I have experienced both. I have been around people who refuse instruction of any type, and I have been that stubborn person. The irony has been that I get so exasperated when dealing with an extremely stubborn person yet I conveniently forget that I can be obstinate in my own right. Neither scenario is pleasant.
Sadly, many people who are stubborn simply cannot see that flaw in themselves yet they can detect it in another person. Human nature can be hypocritical, but I will not go there since we discussed hypocrisy in the previous chapter.
Determination Is Needed
Everyone needs determination to stand steadfast and avoid deceit from the enemy. Determination and stubbornness are different although the line can be fine. Determination is the God-given will to grow spiritually with the drive needed to press through challenges and difficult situations. Stubbornness is being unteachable and never willing to learn anything new because you are set in your ways.
When I was a child, I was very head-strong and willful. I was determined to have my own way and was convinced that no one could tell me what to do. How wrong I was! I am sure I helped contribute to gray hair for my mother’s head, but the Lord gave her the determination she needed to guide me to the correct my path. My grandmother told my mother that some of my willfulness was good because it would keep me from allowing people to take advantage of me. I believe this gave my mother some peace about my strong personality.
Flexibility Is a Must
Even if you have stubborn tendencies, you can remain teachable and flexible to the degree that God can mold you. That is where the deliverance lies for the stubborn person. Fortunately, when I gave my life to the Lord, my zeal to live to give Him glory helped me to see where obstinance could hinder my relationship with Him. I began to realize that I would have to crucify the flesh in that area of my life. If you struggle in this same area, you will begin to experience freedom when you realize that you must be pliable and moldable to God. We are not winning by remaining stubborn when we need to yield.
When we yield to stubbornness, we have a strong tendency to believe we know everything and have nothing to learn from other people. That is a dangerous place to be in our lives! We block God’s hand from moving on our behalf as well as hindering our relationships with others.
Certainly, I am not saying that we should become doormats for other people and allow them to dictate our lives. We just need to remain flexible, asking the Holy Spirit to guide us as to when we need to stand firm on an issue or be humble. It is a great challenge for the strong personality type, but we can do all things through Christ.