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10 Ways to Avoid Stubbornness

Or are you too pigheaded to read this?

When I was a farmer, some of our income came from raising pigs. We liked the money but not the pigs. They are demonically stubborn. I think Jesus did the right thing to send that huge herd into the sea. Because as soon as a pig knows what you want it to do, it will always refuse and at times go in the opposite direction. Hence the term “pigheaded”.

Being stubborn is to be unreasonably obstinate and unmoving. While that may be good for some things, it may also mean that you are not headed in the right direction toward health and growth. God and even others cannot help us grow if we are not open to change. The issues that are most important to God are those of the heart because this is where real transformation takes place. One prophetic declaration of the Old Testament is quite shocking.

Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. (1 Samuel 15:23 – NLT)

When we are stubborn, we show a higher value for ourselves than for God and others. God wants us to have hearts that are pliable toward him and others he places in our lives. God Himself has said “To obey is better than sacrifice.” We need to let the Holy Spirit change how we feel about the word obey. Our flesh doesn’t really like it very much and we are good at spiritualizing and justifying rebellion and stubbornness.

Christians have embraced all kinds of ways to measure spirituality rather than the transformation of the heart. In some circles spirituality is defined by how simple you live, how conservative you are outwardly or even how much you fast. Or some consider it really important how you dress, ranging from plain and conservative to needing to wear suits and ties or the opposite of needing to be casual or even sloppy. Honestly, I am not sure God is as concerned about dress as much as people are. God has told us repeatedly that he looks at the heart not the outward man. So why do we make these things so important and ignore the heart? Why do we lock into one brand of spirituality and close ourselves to others?

God wants to transform us so Christians should be honoring to God’s authority wherever we meet it in life. Our attitude towards change should be open to learning and experiencing new things as long as the change is not unbiblical. Being stubborn about unessential things is not a sign of maturity but of selfishness.

Here are ten ways to avoid stubbornness:

  1. Live as if you are always listening, always learning and always changing.
  2. Be open to hearing God from others, whoever God choses.
  3. Honor your boss at work, your spouse or parents at home and your leaders in the church. Christians should be the best employees anywhere.
  4. Determine to value others and honor them in their roles and gifts.
  5. If you find that a lot of people try to tell you the same thing, listen to them.
  6. Realize that the God of the New Testament is the same God in the Old Testament.
  7. Don’t use words like love, mercy or freedom to get yourself off the hook.
  8. Admit that your ways are not God’s ways which means you need to change.
  9. Determine to be open to new ideas or new ways of doing things.
  10. Catch yourself every time you treat a decision or situation as being about you and your own preferences.

Essentially only insecure and fearful people end up stubborn and unmoving. They react to anything outside their previous experience or preferences. If you really believe that God is sovereign and ultimately in control, you can relax a little more and let Him stretch you and broaden your perspective.

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