As we go through the Bible, in Genesis 17, we learn about the covenant of circumcision, God instituted with Abraham. Interestingly, the Bible uses the word stiff-necked to describe an uncircumcised heart. A couple of instances where there is observed is in Deuteronomy 10:16 and Acts 7:51.
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
A stiff-neck is a condition that occurs when the muscles that attach the neck to the spine have been strained or sprained or as a result of some cervical spine disorder. A person suffering from a stiff neck usually experiences pain and is unable to turn their neck in any direction without some discomfort. It is highly likely that you have experienced this condition at some point in time of your life. The most common reason for this is poor posture while working or poor position when resting (sleeping in an angle).
From a Christian perspective, there are many stiff-necked Christians. I often find myself stubborn in my willful ways and sins and can empathize with Apostle Paul, where he says, the things I do not want to do, I do and the things I do want to do, I do not do (Romans 7:19). It is likely that you can relate with me on this. In other words, we all suffer from stiff-neck syndrome during the course of our Christian walk with God. So what can we do to address this? How can we stop being stiff-necked practically?
As a warm up in our Shaolin Do Kung Fu class, one of the exercises that our Son, Reuben Paul and I do, at the beginning of our class is to stretch the muscles of the neck. We do this by slowly looking up and then looking down and then we turn the neck left to right and in all directions.
A Christian remedy to stiff-neck can be extrapolated from the world of Kung Fu. To stop being stiff-necked as a Christian,
– We ought to look up toward the heavens and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)
– We ought to look down and bow down, kneeling before the Lord our God, our maker, for he is our God (Psalm 95:6-7)
– We ought to look around (left and right and in all directions) at people, with compassion in our eyes i.e., look at our neighbors, whom we must love as ourselves (Mark 6:34; Matthew 22:39).
Points to ponder:
Are you stiff-necked? Are you willing to look up at God, bow down to him and look at his people around us, with compassion in your eyes, just as Jesus did (Mark 6:34) and teaching them about the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for his sheep (you, me and the whole world) (John 10:11).
The right posture and position for stop being stiff-necked is to be with bowed heads and raised eyes, on our knees.
Let us stop being stiff-necked!
Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Psalm 95:6-8 (KJV)
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Mark 6:34 (KJV)
34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.