There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. –Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
A battleship appeared to be on a collision course with another ship one foggy evening. The battleship’s captain radioed to the unknown ship, “Advise you change course 20 degrees to avoid collision.” Someone on a radio replied, “Advise you change course 20 degrees to avoid collision.” The battleship’s captain was not amused. He radioed back, “I am a ship’s captain. Change course 20 degrees, now!” Then came another reply, “I’m a seaman, second-class, and I advise you to change course 20 degrees, now!” The captain was furious, “This is a battleship! I order you to change course 20 degrees, immediately!” The seaman radioed back, “I am a lighthouse!”
Have you ever found yourself in a situation, not unlike the ship’s captain, where you just don’t want to budge on your position? Everyone is stubborn from time to time, but people who live a lifestyle of stubbornness are dangerous to their relationships and spiritual lives.
When we are overly stubborn with others, we build walls that prevent relationships from growing. When those walls are high enough, they actually cause relationships to die. Relationships are based on give and take. In successful relationships no one has their own way all of the time. Both in friendships and in family relationships, the one who is never willing to “change course” damages those relationships.
Stubbornness in our relationship with God works much in the same way as stubbornness with friends and family. Being stubborn with God means that we really don’t want to please the Lord. We want to call our own shots and determine our own course in life. In our stubbornness, we reduce God’s role in our lives to that of a pocket genie, the “magic lamp” we rub and ask for favors when we want something for ourselves. Being stubborn with God is sin, plain and simple.
When refusing to change course we might well find ourselves, much like the battleship captain, on the verge of disaster. We may get what we want, but getting what we want can actually destroy us.
My challenge for you today, both in relationships with people and God, is that you be willing to change course if necessary, in order to build your relationships instead of tearing them down.
1. What areas of your life do you most often find yourself unwilling to change course?
2. Have you damaged relationships with people or with God by being stubborn? If so, will you have the courage to ask them for their forgiveness?
Nehemiah 9:29; Jeremiah 7:24; Romans 2:5; Hebrews 3:15