Choose what you are stubborn about
Stubborn people who are headstrong, wilful and inflexible are unpleasant to be around. But there is a type of stubbornness that’s vital for believers of Jesus Christ. God is stubbornly faithful and steadfast in His love for us, and we need to be stubbornly loyal to Him and His commandments in return.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
God has given each one of us a fighter’s spirit to stand up against the many challenges we will face in this world. Unfortunately, we sometimes use our staunch determination and tenacious spirit to resist God and His Holy Spirit instead. As followers of Jesus, we need to retrain our fighting spirits for God’s glory.
1 Timothy 6:12 ESV Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Acts 7:51 NLT “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!
Six ways to use our stubbornness for God’s glory
God gave us all the ability to be tenacious and stubborn because we need this quality to protect our relationship with Him. If we are too flexible and accommodating, we will compromise on the purity and godliness that God calls us to uphold.
The stubbornness that serves ourselves first and resists God, on the other hand, is idolatry. This is when we are stubborn about our pride, our preferences, our reputations or our finances. Let us learn to use our tenacity and stubbornness for God’s glory instead.
1 Samuel 15:23 NLT Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
1. Be stubborn about upholding God’s truth
There are so many “interpretations” of God’s truth today that it can be hard to hold on to His commandments without some disapproval from others. We need to test all biblical teachings based on God’s intentions for mankind, not man’s personal preferences about salvation. This requires us to persist in studying the Bible and obeying the Holy Spirit, so we can uphold God’s truth with grace and conviction.
1 Timothy 4:16 ESV Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
2. Stubbornly trust God’s good character
Satan tempted Adam and Eve, who were sinless, to doubt God and betray Him. As we know, this tactic was very effective because it didn’t take long for them to bow down to Satan’s lies. Satan continues to use this ploy against mankind today. Despite our tendency to sin, we must resist the temptation to doubt God so that we do not make the same mistake.
Hebrews 10:23 NLT Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
3. Be stubborn about loving others well
It is much easier to love ourselves than to love other people. God calls us to persevere in loving others, in spite of how we may feel. The dogged perseverance that won’t stop sharing God’s love, hope and peace is a perfect use of our stubbornness for God’s glory.
1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
4. Stubborn about fulfilling God’s good works
Bringing the message of God’s love to a world that is sceptical, broken, and in bondage to Satan requires a strong will to please God more than people. We will meet numerous obstacles, but if we stay faithful and not give up easily, we will witness amazing miracles and testimonies.
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
5. Stubbornly committed to our training
God provides ongoing coaching for all His children so we grow strong spiritually. Such training does not always feel good, but it is absolutely necessary if we are to grow in our faith. It also prepares us to stand firm against an invisible enemy that is equally persistent in his deceptions and lies against us.
James 1:3 ESV For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Ephesians 6:13 ESV Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm
6. Stubbornly hold on to our salvation during persecution
Jesus’ teachings on loving God first has always been unpopular amongst the masses. Hence, we can expect to face some persecution and ridicule for our faith. People will discourage us from getting serious about God through threats and mockery. At times like these, our commitment to Jesus will be tested and we will need to stand firm.
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 ESV We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
Paul was a role model of stubbornness for God’s glory
The apostle Paul was a very stubborn man who wouldn’t give up on the work that God had given him, which was to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to those outside the Jewish nation. Paul was often beaten, slandered and in constant danger, but he persevered because of his unyielding love for Jesus. As a result of such godly resolve, millions of believers in Asia now enjoy the eternal hope and peace that comes through Jesus Christ. When we use our stubbornness to fulfil God’s purposes on earth, amazing things can happen.
2 Corinthians 11:24-26 ESV Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;
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