This is the third in a series about our rebellious hearts which are evidenced by a stiff neck. You can read these previous blog posts if you’d like to start from the beginning:

Today I’m going to describe the process of changing an unyielded heart. Tomorrow I’ll share specific examples to help us recognize a rebellious heart in ourselves. This also applies to dealing with the heart of our children as well. (That’s for a later post.)  Many “ah ha” moments happened in my mind and in my heart during an in-depth Bible study, recommended by a few people at my church.  Self Confrontation: A Manual for In-Depth Biblical Discipleship and the accompanying Student Workbook.  This intense study showed me the need to apply Biblical counseling/principles to ALL difficulties, and I recognized that often my own “wisdom” (I mean non-wisdom) is incorrectly given as counsel.


Side note: this study so radically transformed my spiritual journey and gave me a desire for a deeper understanding of the Bible that I ordered and gave away dozens of this set (manual and workbook) AND even taught this material in a year-long class for middle and high school students at our homeschool co-op. Can you tell I really like it?  See all the notes scribbled everywhere? That’s because the Word became alive and I just craved really, really KNOWING it.


Now, back to the topic of our stiff necks and unyielded hearts.

The Bible says that our stiff-necks are merely external results of the internal rebellious, hardened, unyielded heart.  Unyielded to God himself.

  • Deuteronomy 31:27-30 “…for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck…”
  • II Chronicles 30:8-9  “Now do not be stiff-necked like your fathers, but yield yourselves to the Lord…”

Address the heart, not the external feelings.

We so often try to fix the feelings or focus on changing the circumstances rather than read the Bible to hear and apply God’s perspective on problems and difficulties. We typically take the easier route, the one which we feel like doing rather than the more difficult choice of living a life yielded to Him.

  • Matthew 15:18-19 (NKJV) “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…”

A rebellious heart is preoccupation with self.

Ouch. I’m sure we can ALL relate to this. Ponder on that for a moment…or a lifetime. The moment we have emotions because our “rights” are violated, our thoughts are on ourselves. This preoccupation with self is what then leads to our selfish behaviors and thoughts. We feel anger, have bitterness, desire justification, desire vindication, and want to in however means we feel like doing so, express our feelings.  But, God calls that foolishness.  He actually says to put off expressing your own heart and to put on delighting in hearing to the point of understanding the other person. Wow.

  • Proverbs 18:2 “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.”

I just read about this in Proverbs 3 this morning with my kids (third day of the month, third chapter of Proverbs for today). Read these verses below to see the tendency to trust in ourselves and our own thoughts. Hmmm. God says to trust in Him, not ourselves.

  • Proverbs 3:5-7 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”

We concentrate on ventilating.

You know it’s true. When we feel wronged, our mind immediately goes to thinking about our “rights” and we typically express those feelings one way or another – whether verbally or nonverbally or even just burying the hurt deep down inside and consuming ourselves with thoughts of anger towards the person who hurt us, plotting, desiring revenge, etc.

  • Proverb 29:11 (NKJV) “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”

According to that verse, we are to put off venting and in its place put on discipline of thoughts, words, and actions IN THE MIDST OF, or in spite of, our strong emotions. This is going to step on your toes. It can’t help but do so to you…and to me…time and time again, because it is our way vs God’s way. Venting can be any of these things and more: yelling, blaming, accusing, ignoring, giving the silent treatment, plotting, planning revenge, hitting inanimate objects when angry, gossiping, slandering, sarcasm,  and not responding with a soft answer,

And what about slandering? This means talking about someone to another in such a way that when you finish talking, the other person thinks LESS of them because of your words. Hmmm.

Tomorrow, I’m digging in deep… giving you specific put off/put on’s for you to use in addressing your own heart with scripture AND for you to use in parenting to the heart of your children!

How have you personally experienced the supernatural transforming heart surgery in your life?

If you missed any in this series on “stiff necks and rebellious hearts,” you can click here.

Rhonda IknowthatDURINGwritingTHISveryblogIhadtopauseandgoapologizetomykids ellis

  1. Nancy Bethea

    Great post, Rhonda. Love the honesty and the Scripture references. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post.

    • Nancy, thanks for being an encouragement to me. I know YOU are a brilliant writer and God is using you to do great things for Him. Let us know when your movie script comes out!!

  2. Mel

    Why just this afternoon I experienced heart surgery while reading His Word and journaling beside still waters (Green Mountain Lake). While reflecting on His orchestration of events, I recognized that I don’t understand the security I have in Christ if things go wrong or unexpected and I spend my time wondering what I must do to get Him to help me. God doesn’t always deliver in the way we pray for or expect. At times, this results in a stiff neck for me, but how wonderful to look back and understand that He gave me the strength of Christ instead (see also 2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

    Your posts are SO encouraging,
    Mrs. Rhonda. Keep the transparency coming, PYT (pretty young thang).

    • Mel, thanks for your transparency in sharing the example of your “stiff neck.” We’re all guilty of not fully trusting God. Yay for what God is doing and the heart surgery taking place as we learn to yield all to Him.

  3. Kate

    ”third day of the month, third chapter of Proverbs for today”
    Ingenious! I’m starting this tomorrow with my kids..

    • Kate, we have done this for years and years and I have no regrets for this time spent reading wisdom and teaching about practical application of His word into our lives. When the children were young, we would read a verse from that chapter, explain, and give application. As they grew older, we would go over more verses, explanation, and deeper understanding and application of the verses. I’m glad you’re starting this. You’ll never regret it. 🙂

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