Have you ever wished there was a flashing neon sign indicating the condition of your child’s heart?


I mean, we can’t actually see his heart, so how do you “parent to the heart,” discipline to see a change in the heart, and then actually know your child has been teachable and is back under submission to your guidance?


Shhhh… what I’m about to tell you is like a big insider secret that truly helps us in parenting. It’s true for the child just beginning to walk as well as the teenager, and even, well… it’s an indicator of our own stubborn hearts. It is an outward sign that shows the condition of our heart, glaring the inner condition of the selfish, defiant, rebellious, angry heart. Do you want to know what it is?


Well, take a look at these verses and see if you can pick out the nonverbal sign our body gives that shows a heart in a rebellious state.

  • Deuteronomy 31:27  “…for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck…”
  • II Kings 17:14  “…Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God.”
  • II Chronicles 30:8-9  “Now do not be stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God,…return to the Lord”


Did you see it? Can you even believe it’s been right there in Scripture the whole time? If you’re like me, it’s an “ah ha” moment! Just to make sure we got the same answer, the physical evidence of a rebellious, unteachable heart is:


A stiff neck.  

A stiff neck is a sign of a rebellious heart. Not fully submitted. Unyielded. Stubborn.

It’s also an outward sign that reveals the inward thoughts of “Do not tell me what to do.” “Do not correct me.” “I am not approachable.” “I am fine the way I am and no one is going to tell me differently,” and is also screaming, “My way is the right way. Leave me alone.”

And, as far as parenting goes it is a KEY INDICATOR to you in your discipline process with your child that, “The ‘discipline session’ that I just had with my child is NOT YET complete.” (but that’s a blog a few posts away).


Discipline is for the purpose of restoration. When this process is finished properly, all hearts are restored.

Take a look at those verses again and answer this question: What is the remedy for this outwardly stiff-necked, inwardly rebellious-hearted individual? Go back… this biblical discovery may be another ah ha moment.


A yielded heart.

Actually, there’s quite a bit in the above three verses that describes what we should do to put on a yielded heart.

  • We should HEAR- welcome input; be teachable
  • We should BELIEVE in the Lord-trust Him, put our confidence in Him and rest in Him
  • We should YIELD ourselves -deny our own desires, and desire to be under His teaching
  • We should ENTER His sanctuary – fellowship with him,
  • We should SERVE the Lord -be obedient to doing, serving, going, living for Him in service to others
  • We should RETURN to the Lord – our hearts should be repentant AND restored; beautiful communion with Him


The Bible clearly tells us to take Scripture and apply it to our own lives first. This is true in the case of parenting as well. When you see a pattern in your child’s sinful behavior, it’s wise to first ask yourself, “hmmm…Do I exhibit that very behavior?” Evaluate. Own it. Apologize. Change.


In the next post, I’m sharing about confronting your heart with Scripture. I’ll show you that when your heart is RESTORED (yielded), your neck will naturally relax and your shoulders will soften. Those outward signs of rebellion will be gone because your heart has changed.  Don’t miss the next post. It will change your life forever… well, God’s Word will, not my blog post.


To read the whole series on discipline and “stiff necks and rebellious hearts,” you can click here.


Rhonda bewareofyourownstiffneck ellis


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  1. Shelley Siragusa

    This was a perfect teaching for my heart/stiff neck today! Thank you for being obedient to His call and sharing some godly secrets to walking in THE WAY.

    • Shelley, look at you being all teachable and stuff. Thank you for taking time to encourage me today.

  2. Kathy Higgins

    Never saw this in those verses before. Thanks for sharing. I think I have some “neck issues” to work on in myself first. Very convicting.

    • Kathy, don’t you just love it when something in Scripture JUMPS OUT at you. Miss you, Kathy!

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