I hope you had a wonderful Easter! We are going to continue on with our relationships series.
1 Samuel 15:23 says, “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.”
What I want to talk about today is how stubbornness affects our relationship with God from the perspective of boundaries. Healthy boundaries are good and are in fact encouraged. However, sometimes in life we get hurt and instead of creating healthy boundaries we can create walls and struggle with our relationships.
I spoke about boundaries in general terms when this series started and I mentioned that I relate to different people differently. I do not relate to my dentist the same way I would relate to my pastor. I need to have some boundaries about the information I share with my dentist. Healthy boundaries know when to let people in and where to draw the line. Walls, however, are designed to keep things where they are. Nothing can come in and nothing can get out. Which means our hurts get trapped inside us and healing gets stuck on the outside with no way in.
Walls are not healthy, they generally tend to be a defence mechanism that we build in places where we have been hurt in the past. I am no expect on the subject of boundaries so I encourage you to read the books on Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend, they are pretty good.
Anyway what I want to say today is, we can’t grow in our relationship with God until we are ready to invite Him to knock down the walls we have built for ourselves. It is not an easy process but it is necessary. Walls harden our hearts towards God and we can become insensitive and indifferent to his word.
I think when we build defensive walls around our hearts we can become very stubborn. We can become immoveable even when we are given good reason to change our position. The word used for “stubbornness” in our verse is the Hebrew word “patsar” which means to press or push. When we are hurt and we have built up walls on the inside, we tend to push people away and press against the very ones trying to help and unfortunately when we are this way God is not an exception. Our walls keep Him out of the very places we need Him to touch and heal.
Stubbornness can also be a result of arrogance or pride or we think we know it all or we have an unteachable spirit, which are all things that God needs to deal with in us so we can grow as individuals and in our relationship with Him.
Jeremiah 18:11-12 says, ““Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’” But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.””
In this same chapter God was speaking to Jeremiah about how He is the Potter and we are the clay. I think when our hearts are stubborn and hardened, we stop the very work that God is trying to do in our lives. When we create walls, our hearts become stubborn towards God. They press and push against the word of God and we will struggle to grow in our relationship with Him. We will struggle to receive the love and healing we need for us to be free from the hurts of our past.
But the moment we decide to live in total surrender to God, and we lay down our defences at His feet and ask Him to tear down our walls, we begin a journey into something new and beautiful with God. Surrender is the opposite of pushing or pressing. We say, “Have Your way God” and we actually mean it. The only way for us to grow in our relationship with God is if we allow Him to heal us deep within and pull down our walls so we can have healthy boundaries instead and foster healthy relationships especially with God. We want to get to a place where we can be spiritually and emotionally naked before God and unashamed much like Adam and Even in the garden (Genesis 2:25). But that is a process and sometimes we need healing deep within.
So I hope this message encourages you to begin a dialogue with God, where you will invite Him into those broken places and allow Him to touch and heal you deep within. He is a Healer and a Comforter.
Love and blessings,