Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meditations: Stubbornness

For more than two decades of my life I was a stubborn person, and a bit proud to be one. You see I grew up in a family with a long history of obstinacy. When I was about 10 years old or so, it became evident to my Father that I had inherited much of his personality - hot temper, stubbornness and all! He talked to me about learning to control my temper and I took this very seriously. I worked on learning to deal with anger in the proper way for years and years, until now it is hardly a problem for me anymore, and if I told you I had a temper, you would never believe it.

But as I said, there was always a bit of pride in the stubbornness. You see, it can be a used for good. Stubbornness had gotten me through some tough times and kept me rock-solid in the faith. But, it also caused problems in my life, and when I married Preacher Man, stubbornness got in the way of my being the kind of Godly wife that I need to be. So, years ago, I resolved to do something about it. Just the way I learned to control my anger when I was 10 years old, I also learned to be peaceable, submissive, and meek. Admittedly, it was much, much more difficult to change my habits at that point, as they had become more ingrained. After several years, I still find myself fighting this battle on occasion.

The thing that convicted me that I needed to change was when I looked in the Bible for examples of people being stubborn. God doesn’t use that word. He uses words like, “stiff-necked”, “hard-hearted”, “rebellion”, and “self-will”. Those are very ugly terms, and God uses them to describe the Pharaoh of Egypt, the Israelites when they refused to obey him, and the Jews just before they stoned Stephen. That’s pretty humbling. Stubbornness is nothing to be proud of.

II Chronicles 30:8 – “Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.” King Hezekiah spoke those words to the children of Israel.

Stubbornness is not a Godly trait, and it is not an attractive feminine trait either. After I asked God, I asked my husband to forgive me for being so stubborn, and I told him of my effort to change. He was shocked, but surprisingly happy and pleased. He said, “You would be so beautiful… not that you aren’t now, but you would be so much more beautiful to me!” Whether you are married or not, you are in submission to somebody. You are either in submission to your parents, or to your husband. If you are a woman who is no longer under her parent’s roof, yet not married, then you are in submission to God. God wants us to have “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”. It is precious to Him! (I Peter 3:4) We must be obedient, which is yielding, willing and EAGER to accomplish the desires of God, our parents, or our husband while abstaining from the things that displease them. Do you eagerly obey? Or do you grudgingly obey?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23

I seriously doubt that I am the only one with this challenge in my life. Crucify that old stubborn person, and become a gentle, peaceful woman with self-control!

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