Holy Stubbornness

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“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage” (Ps. 84:5, NKJV).

There came a time in my life when a fierce and prolonged battle was raging around me. There was only one way I was going to survive: “Holy stubbornness.” That’s what Holy Spirit called it.

This was His fresh branding for an ancient concept, that of spiritual resilience. Unrelenting doggedness. It was the only thing that was going to get me to the other side of that season victorious. There was no other choice. I had to determine in my heart that – by God’s empowering – I was going to be more stubborn than the enemy. Sheer holy stubbornness was going to keep me in the fight no matter how much I was bleeding.

Psalm 84 teaches us about this critically important quality. A blessed stubbornness marks the life of every determined believer – each one of us “whose heart is set on pilgrimage” (v. 5). There are seasons in all of our lifetimes when we must resolutely, tenaciously set our heart on the finish line. There is simply no other way to make it through.

During those painful patches, it will seem like all of hell has turned out to fight in the war against our joy. Battle after battle after battle in seemingly unending succession will pummel our will to continue. The testing of our faith will at times feel agonizing. It will be in those moments that we must lock our teeth on God’s promises like a bull dog. No matter what is unleashed against us, we simply cannot let go. Holy stubbornness must possess our souls. Again and again, we must courageously lean into Holy Spirit’s admonition:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9, ESV, bold emphasis mine).

If we do not give up! Sometimes, it is all we can do to put one foot in front of the other – or even one knee in front of the other – as we crawl forward. But we simply can’t give up. Harvest really is coming!! This season of difficulty and distress WILL NOT LAST FOREVER!!!

In spite of our frailty, we know with certainty we can endure. We can pull through to victory. What gives us this confidence? Jesus went before us, showing us how to do it. He accomplished this for us in the weakness of a human body, complete with the vulnerability of human emotions.

Holy Spirit tells us all about it in Isaiah chapter 50. In one breath, He describes some of Jesus’ most anguished moments, as His beard is ripped out (v. 6). In the next, the Spirit gives us this window into our Savior’s heart cry:

“Because the Lord God helps me, I will not be dismayed;

Therefore, I have set my face like flint to do his will, and I know that I will triumph.

He who gives me justice is near…” (vv. 7-8a, TLB).

Do you see it there? Holy stubbornness. “I have set my face like flint to do His will.” Determination as immovable as a rock. Jesus was resolute, unwavering, steadfast. No matter what the cost, He was going through with it. He saw the triumph on the other side of the pain. He saw you in His arms forever. Nothing, absolutely nothing in all of creation, was going to stop Him from obtaining that intimacy with you.

How about you? Is there a war raging around you right now? Mighty warrior, the Spirit of Jesus is one with your spirit. Let His holy stubbornness rise up on the inside of you in this moment. Set your face like flint. Raise your voice and cry out with Him, “Weeping may last for the night, but joy is coming in the morning! I know that I will triumph! He who gives me justice is near!”

Bite down like a bulldog; sink your teeth into the unfailing promises of God; and never, ever, ever let go!

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Have you ever noticed a time when stubbornness came in handy, in a redemptive way?