Here are seven Bible verses relating to stubbornness in the human heart.
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
I don’t believe you can be humble and conceited at the same time. The Apostle Paul places rivalry and conceit at the opposite end of humility, where you would “count others more significant than yourselves.” The command to not do anything due to rivalry or conceit would never be needed if we were all humble…but, since we all fall short of God’s holiness (Rom 3:23), we ought to live in true humility and esteeming others better than ourselves.
Proverbs 29:1 “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”
The one thing about being reproved is it can make us more resistant to counsel or advice. The heart of the reason is pride. When our friends try to tell us something to help us, will we dig in our heels even deeper…or will we humble ourselves and learn a valuable lesson? God often referred to Israel as being “a stiff necked people” (Ex 32:9) because they didn’t continue to live in obedience to His commands. This stubbornness kept them out of the Promised Land where only their children would enter into.
Psalm 81:11-12 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.”
The psalmist may be referring to a number of times in Israel’s history in this verse, because they didn’t listen in the wilderness, they didn’t listen when the prophets warned them, and the kings didn’t listen Him and it eventually ended in their nation’s destruction and captivity. They were so sure of themselves that God gave them up to their own counsel, really conceit, and we know that the wisdom of man is foolishness to God (1st Cor 3:19). For those who’ve hardened their hearts against Him, Paul writes that, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom 1:24).
First Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.”
Divination was a serious abomination to God. It was one of those worthy of death, so that’s why this is so serious for King Saul. God equates divination with rebellion because it’s rebelling against His law that forbids it. By rejecting God’s Word, it’s like he rejected God, which is why the Lord rejected Saul from being king over Israel.
Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
When the Bible mentions the fear of God, it’s a fear that means having a high regard for God and His Word. You cannot fear God and love evil. The born-again believer will begin to hate sin (Rom 7:7-14), but also hate pride, especially in themselves, but also in the world. Perverted speech is part of the evil that God is hates because the sinner may also speak it in arrogance. Solomon groups evil, perverted speech together with pride and arrogance.
Romans 2:5 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
The Book of Romans makes the gospel crystal clear. This book explains the essential beliefs of Christians (Rom 10:9-13), it shows the person their standing before God (Rom 6:23), it reveals the infinite gap between us and God (Rom 3:23), and that before we were saved, we all had Jesus’ blood on our hands, however it shows us how to be saved from God’s wrath. For those who have heard and read the gospel and yet reject it, they are only hardening their hearts for the day when God’s righteous wrath will be revealed and when it will be too late to repent. The wrath of God makes the gospel relevant for all and the blood of the Lamb sufficient to save all of those who believe (John 3:16).
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
This proverb is often misquoted and said to be “pride comes before the fall” and even though that’s true, the Bible is more specific. It says “pride goes before destruction” and a “haughty spirit before a fall.” In both cases, pride or haughtiness eventually leads to someone’s downfall. Humans can be very stubborn. It’s okay to be stubborn over the right things and fail to yield essentials (Acts 4:12), but to be stubborn over the wrong thing can lead to destruction. Solomon and Paul both have warned those with impenitent hearts who refuse to humble themselves before God and trust in Christ.
Unbelievers who have been constantly exposed to the gospel, even if only to attack the article and degrade the author, are still going to be accountable for hearing the truth so they have no excuse (Rom 1:18-20). Jesus warned that the “servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating” (Luke 12:47), however “the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating” (Luke 12:48a) but Jesus’ main point was, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48b). We know the Master’s will. It’s in the Bible. Jesus said, you must repent and believe (Mark 1:15). Now, you are even more responsible for what you hear or read, just as we all are.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.