On Monday I woke up with a stiff neck and wow, it hurt. In fact it was so bad that I could barely move my head most of the day. That carried into Tuesday and by the evening it was getting a little better, but still very painful. Now I’m the type of guy that hates to take drugs, but I took some to see if it would help, and sure enough, it didn’t.

But I don’t want to be bemoan my condition, rather I want to talk about the results of having a stiff neck in relation to God! We find this term used mostly in the Old Testament to talk about how the people of God refused to turn back to him. In fact most of the time it is God that is calling them stiff-necked.

When it comes to our relationship with God we need to be flexible. I know that as we have been going through some financial struggles at the moment we look to God and wonder, “What in the world are you doing?!?!” But we know that God is in control and is going to provide for us even though we can’t see how that is going to happen.

Let’s look at an example: Exodus 32:9-10

And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

Wow. God is basically saying that he’s had it with these people and he wants to wipe them all out – all but Moses who he will use to make into a new nation. In the verses that follow Moses talks to God and manages to abate his wrath (the idea of God changing his mind is an issue for another day) but 3,000 people still died as a result of their sin. Their sin was worshiping a false god and making the golden calf.

As I’ve talked about before we all tend to fall into patterns of sin and we can be stiff-necked in not giving up those sins. No doubt it is hard, especially if the sin has been going on for a long period of time. We even come up with excuses such as, “Things will never change, so I may as well enjoy it, right?” That is exactly what the Devil wants you to think!

That’s not how we are to be though; in Christ we have been made new! 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

When we become Christians we are a new creation! Does that mean we are not Christians if we sin? Of course not! We are still going to sin, but the point is that now  we have the freedom to choose:

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

It sounds like it will be the simplest thing in the world, but sadly, it isn’t. But we have Christ now, and if we seek him and his aid then we can break those “yoke of slavery.” It’s not going to be easy, and may take you a life time, but the point is not to give up. God desires that we follow after him, and when we fall that we go to him and admit our sins, then we can keep moving forward. Like Dory from Finding Nemo we need to, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” until we make it home with Christ.

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