Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stiff Necked

I’m stiff necked... well, today anyway.   A couple nights ago I somehow slept wrong and woke up with a twinge in my neck that I knew was going to progress into a full blown case of stiff neckedness (invented word).  When this happens, I have a few options to help me get back to normal; but the most effective thing is being able to stretch those muscles that are in spasm.  By so doing, the muscles will eventually relax, and the pain will subside.  The only real problem is that there are approximately 8 million muscles in the average human neck (OK, it’s more like 18), and the trick is finding a way to move your head that will actually stretch the right muscle.  This leads to odd looks from people as I rotate my head in various odd ways to get that odd muscle to just let it go!

You can always tell when a person has a stiff neck because when he needs to turn to look to either side, he turns his entire body instead of just his head.  It hurts too much so he turns everything...or, better yet, doesn't turn at all.  I can remember driving with a stiff neck and not wanting to do my shoulder check when changing lanes... I just wanted to look forward and not see what was beside me.

If you are leading an ox team, having them be “stiff necked” means you can’t direct them very easily... they just want to go where they want to go. 

When the term “stiff necked” is used in the Bible, it’s not actually talking about a stiff neck... but rather stubbornness.  The kind of bull (or ox) headedness that prevents someone from paying attention to God.  The prophets used the term often in the Old Testament, referring to the stubbornness of the Israelites; and the apostolic martyr Stephen used it in Acts 7:51 saying, ““You stiff-necked people!.....You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”  It’s pretty clear from this usage that being stiff necked isn’t a good thing.  When we ignore the Holy Spirit, we are being spiritually stiff necked.

I couldn’t agree more!   I hate being stiff necked!   Yes, I don’t like the physical kind, but I also don’t like it when I’m stiff necked spiritually.  The Holy Spirit is constantly guiding and directing through His Word, prayer, fellowship, and conviction.  Here’s hoping I can avoid both kinds in the future! 


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