Strident Spirit of the Willful

“Strident Spirit” describes a person’s determination to have their way on some issue or other. We are all prone to this level of self-will and determination at times, often over specific areas where we feel the need to take a stand.

If people believe they have been taken advantage of or hurt in some way, either by a person or situation, they can make an inner resolve about the person or process. Their resolve is basically that they will not allow themselves to be vulnerable again.

Rebellion Against God

The problem with our strident spirit is that it is rebellion against God. When we take our lives into our own hands and demand certain realities for ourselves, we take the place of God in our own lives.

A simple example is where a person says to God, “I will serve You where ever You send me, but I will not go to the jungles of Africa!” Or, “I will show hospitality to anyone, except that person who offended me!” Whenever we rule God out of some decision or option we withhold God’s right in our life.

We need to undo this inner resolve which offends God, and thus become free of our Strident Spirit.

If you are given to hard attitudes toward a person or situation, then you very likely have a strident spirit associated driving your will. You need to find God’s grace and humble yourself before Him.

Realise you are in rebellion against God and humble yourself under His authority.

Spiritual Slavery

We are warned that what we give ourselves to will rule us. And so, when a person gives their will to serve their feelings of resentment, independence, self-preservation, or whatever, the will comes under the power of a strident spirit which will frustrate the person’s future attempts to yield their will, even to God.

So this is not just a matter of personal strength of will, but a spiritual battle against an evil force which has claimed victory over your will. You must make it a priority to be free from the Strident Spirit, so you can fully yield your life to God.

The best way to do that is to die to your self-will, allowing God to ask what He will, and being determined to obey Him and trust Him. Once the strident spirit is broken, you will have much greater internal liberty to worship and serve God. You will be free from a terrible slavery.

The Pastor’s Wife

Imagine a pastor’s wife who feels offended by the women in the congregation because of their excessive expectations of her. They want her to take part in programs and activities which she is not interested in.

The pastor’s wife refuses to meet their expectations, so the women complain to the church leaders. Those leaders then speak with the pastor asking him to encourage his wife to fit in with the program.

The pastor decides not to ask his wife to help the ladies, even though he thinks it is the right thing for her to do. He is aware of her strident and self-assertive nature and knows how upset she already is about the women asking for her help. He decides not to make his demand of her, since he does not want to further strain his relationship with his wife.

The Wrong Spirit in Control

Now there is no resolution. The women are unhappy. The pastor is caught in the middle. The wife is determined to hold her ground. The church leaders are embarrassed about the predicament.

So, who is ruling this situation? The most powerful spirit operating in this mess is a strident spirit, not the Spirit of God. The wife’s determination is being exalted over the whole situation.

Imagine, then, the Lord speaking to the pastor’s wife in a dream. He reminds her that He called her to serve Him and that she agreed to do so as a little child. He reminds her that her entire ministry is a gift from Him. He then points out to her that her heart is now not controlled by His love and grace, but by her own determination. He asks her if she would yield her will and do whatever HE asked her to do.

The wife agrees that she wants to give glory to God and honour Him. She agrees that she will obey Him. God gives her only one instruction, “Submit to your husband”.

The Challenge of Submission

When the wife wakes she struggles with the challenge to submit to her husband, because she does not trust him to always be sensitive to her needs and wishes. However, she realises that submission to her husband comes at a cost. It is a penalty to her own will, and requires her to yield her heart to God and to trust Him to protect her from the husband’s thoughtlessness and failings, and his own weakness of will.

When the wife tells the husband that she wants to submit to him and will do whatever he asks, she is aware of many areas where she has been a difficult wife and is not sure what he will ask her to do.

The husband asks her to fit in with the request of the women in the church, as an act of devotion to him. The wife is shocked. She has clearly refused to do what the women ask. She would refuse her husband under normal circumstances, just as she has refused the women. But this is now different. She is now being asked to submit her will to God.

Bow to God

The wife’s submission to her husband is not a losing of her will to the man, but losing her will to God, since God asked her to submit to the husband. And now, when she submits to the request of the women, as an act of submission to her husband’s request, that too is an act of submission to God.

The wife’s strident spirit is broken when she yields her will to God. Whatever pain, shame, or personal struggle she has to work through to fit in with the women’s program is the pain of submission to God. She does it all as an act of worship to Him.

For all of us who struggle to yield our will at times, this example points to an important principle. When we take charge of our will to stand against people or situations which we object to we must be careful to still be yielding our will to God. If God has directed us to take a stand, like Elijah against the prophets of Baal, then we are in the will of God. If it is our own spirit that has risen on our own behalf, then we must put that aside and bow the knee to God.

Biblical Examples

Jesus Christ gave us the example of His own life. When people mocked Him, He did not reply. The Apostle Peter described this example from Jesus.

“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously” 1Peter 2:23

Jesus did not access His own wilful reactions, demands or determined actions, but yielded His life to do the will of God.

We also know of Moses as the meekest man that ever lived (Numbers 12:3), having yielded his life to God. And wives are instructed to adorn themselves in a meek and gentle spirit.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands” 1Peter 3:3-5

If you have given place to self-will or a Strident Spirit, you are in rebellion against God. It is time to humble yourself and give in to God.

God Can Be Trusted

Now, you may be afraid that if you give in to God He will ask you to do things which you think are bad for you. I know of people who were sure that God would send them to the mission-field if ever they yielded their lives to Him.

Let me reassure you with the words of Jeremiah. God’s plans for you are much better than yours.

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

If God has to do surgery on your heart and attitudes it is only to remove a deadly disease. If you jump off the operating table and run away, you take all of your toxic problems with you.

Referring back to the resistant pastor’s wife, it may be that God wanted to soften her hard heart so she would be a blessing to others. It may be that she has not learned to be a team player, and needed to learn to work with others. It may be that her pride would destroy her in the future if God did not deal with it now.

Because we trust God to be who He is, a loving and gracious Heavenly Father, we can give in to Him. If we are desperate to “save” our life, we will lose it. But if we give up our claim on our own will, we will find the life for which we were created.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35

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