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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The High Cost of Stubbornness

“Do you mind if I share some wisdom from the Bible about ________?”

I often ask a question like that to people in despair when I chat with them as a coach on an Internet helpline. The word “cutting” commonly fills the blank. Any of us would do well to use that query on ourselves when we encounter a problem. It’s a profound question because it can reveal a person’s state of readiness for a life-changing solution.

People are dealing with weighty issues these days. Whether they have brought their problems on themselves or become victims of the sin of other people, they must find their own way out.

So, I tactfully explore whether we can invite God into our discussion, to see what the Bible has to say about their issue and how God Himself can factor into their solution. Astonishingly, some of them who are already on the brink of ending their lives remain dug in and refuse permission. That rejection may suggest bad experiences with unyielding parents, overzealous peers, or church hypocrisy. Other times, society has already foisted upon them a negative perception of God and the Bible. Some, I learn, fear that they will need to relinquish an addictive sin – the very thing that keeps them in bondage.

Perhaps deep inside, the people in this latter group already know they have wandered from what is right, but they haven’t connected it to their issues. To consider God would make them face something they aren’t willing to change. If we can deny God’s existence or His lordship, then we are accountable to no one but ourselves, so the thinking goes. People want to do their own thing. Submitting to authority is as unpopular now as it was in yesteryear.

Jesus met the same unwillingness to confront the truth. Members of a sect, the Sadducees, were more into hairsplitting than discovering who Jesus was. They tried to trap Him with trick questions, but He silenced them with wisdom and authority, the likes of which they’d never experienced. He saw through them and exposed them:

Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these experts in religion, for they love to parade in dignified robes and to be bowed to by the people as they walk along the street. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and at religious festivals! But even while they are praying long prayers with great outward piety, they are planning schemes to cheat widows out of their property. Therefore God’s heaviest sentence awaits these men” Luke 20:45-47 (TLB).

The Sadducees had no interest in Jesus because He threatened their position within the culture. Exploring Him further would have meant changing their ways and giving up some power.

The sound of God’s voice threatens people who are unwilling to submit to Him. Even though His Word would shine light into their darkness and His Spirit’s transformative power would unshackle them, some people aren’t ready to surrender and leave their “discomfort zone” behind. Their stubbornness always shows they have yet to understand God’s love, forgiveness and power. At high cost, evil grips them.

One day, the Bible says, “every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11 TLB). May the Holy Spirit soften hardened hearts and expose the enemy’s deceptions before it is too late.

Copyright © 2019 Tim Bishop, used with permission.

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