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The Sin of Being Self-willed

by Patricia Dailey,
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center

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The Sin of Being Self-willed

by Patricia Dailey
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center
43 Norwood St.
Everett, MA 02149


God's people sometimes believe they're A-ok, that there's nothing wrong with them at all, even though they have sin in their life. They don't consider that thing in their life as being sinful. The devil makes them think it's something else.

To realize it is really sin often takes the Holy Spirit bringing it out through the preaching of the Word or through a testimony: someone else having the same kind of sin in their life, struggling with it and getting the victory.

Jonah 2:8
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

The devil tries to cover up their sin so they won't get the help they need. He'll convince them it's something else other than sin operating in their life.

Listen, if you see the attributes of Christ in your life, then you know that's of God; but if you see things in your life which are not the attributes of Christ — even though the devil would like to convince you that those things are ok — you'd better get rid of them.

Don't allow sin to blossom in your life. It will be manifested outwardly and mar your testimony, as well as putting your soul in jeopardy.

Being Self-willed

Now, the word (or sin) that we're going to examine in this message is the word self-willed.

When babies come into this world, we soon find that they are self-willed, that they have a carnal nature. When a baby begins to crawl, they begin to get into things, and what happens? They tear things up! break things! climb onto things! Many times, mother thinks they're being so cute. She likes to see her baby learn these different things because that means her little darling is growing up.

But mother and father can do a lot of harm in molding their little one's life by what they allow.

Listen, when you say, "No," that ought to stand as NO. Realize they will test you. When you say, "No," you'll see their little hands go right back to do that very thing you told them not to do.

When this happens what do you do? Do you ignore it, just let it go, not do anything about it? That's where you begin to create problems. A little later on when you come back and say, "No," they'll turn right around and touch it again. They know you don't really mean what you said!

If you don't stand over their will, insisting they do as they were told, that child becomes strong-willed.

Do you let them do anything they want to do because you want peace and quiet, because you don't want to hear them cry?

You don't want to have to spank their little bottom or slap them a little bit on the hand to let them know that it's NO: "I said no! and I mean No!" You say you love them, but you hurt them when you give in.

If you say "no" to a self-willed child when you're out shopping, they will get down on the floor and go into a temper tantrum right out in public. They will scream and holler and kick until they get their own way.

Because parents have not taken authority over the will of that child but have let them go, that child is formed right there. They know they can be strong-willed and get away with it.

It doesn't matter if they spit! It doesn't matter if they pull someone's hair! It doesn't matter if they kick somebody! It doesn't matter if they get up on top of the table! It's all so very, very cute.

Many times grandparents have a habit of giving in to a grandchild because grandchildren are special: after all, you can love them and then send them home. But, if a grandparent isn't careful, they, too, can cause a child to become self-willed.

Being self-willed is one of the hardest things to get out of a person's life. It began when they were young, and they'll be that way until they die or until they surrender their will to the will of the Lord.

Now, let's look at some dictionary definitions to help us get a full understanding of what it means to be self-willed:

Self-Willed: willful; deliberate; intractable; intentional; obstinate; wayward; unmanageable; headstrong

Headstrong: strong-minded; cantankerous; adamant; unyielding; set in your way; unmoveable; stiff-necked; perverse; inflexible; pig-headed; fixed; callused; hard; unruly; contrary

Do any of these words describe you?

Do you know anyone who could be called pig-headed, stubborn and self-willed; someone who is unmanageable, very unruly, very strong-minded? They have a mindset and nobody's going to change their mind!

Some people are so defiant. They're going to do it anyway, blatantly, right in your face. They'll do the very thing you told them not to do.

Proverbs 17:11a
An evil man seeketh only rebellion

Rebel: rebellious; revolt; rise up; resist; obstinate; disobedient; self-willed; stubborn

These were all found in the life of King Saul. You wouldn't think a king would have been this type of person, but Saul was.

Now, if somebody says, "Don't do this," that's the very thing the rebellious insist on doing. They've been accustomed to this from their childhood up. Many times, because it's such a part of their character, it carries over into marriage, ruining any chance of having a good marriage.

This thing controls them more than the Lord controls them. It manifests itself in so many areas. It takes over and the things of God are pushed aside.

A Day of Rebellion and Self-will

We're living in a day and hour when there is a spirit in this world which causes our young people to want to rebel, to be stubborn, to resist all authority. They want to resist any kind of authority — whether it's the laws of the government, the laws of the home, the laws at school or work, or the laws of the church.

We see teenagers who want to give their parents a rough time. They stand right up, wanting to take authority over their parents or anybody else who would try to slow them down in any wise to keep them from doing things they're not supposed to be doing.

And this isn't just children and teens. We find the same problem in many grown-ups. With some adults if they're told not to do something, they will do it just because they were told not to.

If this message speaks to you, it's God's love to make it very clear to you, so you might know you need some help; you need victory over this thing. But you're not going to get the victory if you keep it up, if you're just going to keep going on and on and on in your self-willed ways.

Satan will cause you to believe a lie: "Oh, it's not that. It's not stubbornness. It's not rebellion. After all, I'm the head of the house. What I do is all right."

No it isn't. Just because you're the head of the house doesn't mean that it's all right for you to do these type of things.

Some men are so self-willed that they're not going to be told. Their wife might ask them not to walk on the wet floor, so what do they do? They plow right through it, just because their wife said not to!

Did you men ever try mopping the floor? You want it to look nice. When you're done you don't want anybody leaving their footprints on it. That's why your wife wants it to dry before you walk on it. When the floor is wet, any dirt on your shoes will be imprinted right on the floor, and it will look like she never washed it!

Are you the kind that would do such a thing and then say, "Why don't you clean up this house!"

Now, is it a big thing that your wife said, "Don't tramp on the wet floor?"

Don't you understand, men, that when a woman mops a floor, she won't even walk on it? She'll mop and then she'll move to let it dry completely before she starts tracking on it, because she wants it to be clean. She doesn't want to end up with footprints all over it.

Now, some people don't even know enough to wipe their feet before coming in the house. They track in the mud, the plaster, the oil, and all that gets on their shoes from off the street.

Just as soon as someone says not to do something, this type of person will insist on doing it, because they've been brought up that way. They're going to have their own way, even if it destroys them!

And that's just exactly what it will do! It will destroy them if they continue on in that way.

If this is true of you, your mother needs a good spanking! I don't care how old she is. She really needs a good spanking. In one way, it's her fault, because she brought you up to be that kind of person.

Proverbs 29:15b
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Mothers, realize it reflects back on you. It usually doesn't reflect on the father, but on the mother.

Psalm 68:6b
. . . the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

Rebellion stands in the way. That's why the self-willed can't seem to get a touch of God on their soul: It's because of their rebellion.

If this is true of you, God wants to bring you to the place where He can really touch you, where He can make it known unto you why you can't seem to break through to touch God and get His touch upon your life. He is trying to tell you that this is why you are not getting the touch that you need in your soul. It's because you're headstrong, self-willed.

Often it's others that see it, not you. That's the sad part.

King Saul's Bad Example

We thank God that we do have Scriptures that show us just what happens when a person is self-willed:

see I Samuel 13:1-14
. . . Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines . . .

And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude . . .

When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.

. . . As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

When Saul was to be anointed king, he went and hid amongst the stuff while they looked for him. He was humble at the time and probably felt incapable of being a king (see I Samuel 10:22). But some people — though humble at the start — when they get elevated in the Lord and get a little footage, they want to protrude their self-willed way.

This is what Saul did after reigning two years over Israel. After he was anointed, God instructed Samuel to tell him to go and tarry seven days and Samuel would come at the appointed time.

But because Samuel didn't come right when Saul thought he should, Saul took it upon himself to intrude into an office which he had no business intruding into.

Saul couldn't wait. He just went ahead in his self-willed way and offered the sacrifices . . . and he no more finished offering than Samuel came along!

I Samuel 13:11-12
And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

I forced myself! Some people think they can do a better job, so they intrude into another's office only to find God's dealings upon them.

Look at II Chronicles 26 and see where King Uzziah became a leper (and was a leper until the day he died) all because he intruded into an office he had no business getting into.

And we see this same thing in King Saul!

I Samuel 13:13,14
And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which He commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.

Thou hast done foolishly! I believe we're very foolish when we try to intrude into an office that doesn't belong to us. If God hasn't given us orders to do something, but has given that thing to someone else to do, we'd best stay out.

We should mind our business and let God run His business. God runs His business very, very well. He doesn't need our help. When people start intruding into God's business, they make a mess of things and cause God to have to chastise them (Hebrews 12:11).

If they pay heed to His chastisement, then it will work the peaceable fruits of righteousness. If not, they'll suffer the consequences of the Lord's judgment upon their life.

I Samuel 13:13,14a
And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which He commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought Him a man after His own heart

Now, Samuel said Saul's kingdom was not going to continue, that God had sought for a man after His own heart: and that man was David.

We see here it's a foolish thing for any of us to think we can go through life in our stubborn and rebellious way and yet make eternal life.

Self-will in the Home

I'm not here to deceive you. If you are being self-willed, stubborn, rebellious, I'm not here to tell you all is well. God is telling you from His Word that all is not well! There's no use in your fooling yourself, thinking that you're all ready, when you actually need to get down to business and get this thing out of your life.

Now, you play real havoc in the home when you're this type of person. You make heartache and hardship for those you live with when you do this type of thing. Many suffer because of your sin. Many cry. They're hurt because of your actions. You've hurt them deeply, many times, because of what you've done, because you've been self-willed, stubborn, rebellious.

"I'll do what I want to do, and you're not going to tell me anything different!"

Don't think for a minute that just because you're a husband or the head of a house that you have a right to act that way. In the eyes of God you don't have a right to act like that, any more than the rest of us do. It's sin. It's wicked. It's evil. And it needs to be dealt with . . . before it's too late.

I hate to see someone being defiant like Saul was here. They'll stand right up to you and do the opposite of what they've been told to do, because nobody's telling them. Even when God commands them to do something, they'll rebel.

Self-will in Church

God gives many commandments in His Word. But the rebellious want to say, "Well, it's just the preacher. It's just them talking."

Listen, it's more than just the preacher talking. If they're preaching from the Word of God, then it's the Lord who is speaking. It might be man's voice, but it's the Lord speaking through them.

A godly pastor encourages God's people to really praise the Lord, to come together and worship God, and to get their lives straightened out with Him.

And that's where the devil fights a lot.

He knows that if we draw near to God, we're going to be like Isaiah of old (see Isaiah 6): We're going to see ourselves like we really are.

But many don't want to see themselves, don't want to admit that this thing has a hold of them, don't want to say, "Yes, Lord, I do need help." They don't want to see it, and the devil doesn't want them to see it. But I'm sure trusting, if this is in you, that you do see it and that you will correct the error of your way.

I believe this message from God's Word has been plain enough for you to see. God is going to really trouble and deal with you until you get this out of your life.

Do you ever get hot under the collar, get angry and upset?

Would you like to like to silence the preacher when the message hits home?

If you feel like this, realize that you're dealing with God, and you'd best be careful when you're dealing with God!

Church is the Place
To Praise God and Gain Victory

Now, we encourage you to press in when you attend church. That's the purpose: so God can speak to you, so He can deal with you.

Too often, though, you've got everything else on your mind: what you're going to cook for dinner, what you're going to do tomorrow or next week, or what you did yesterday. When you've got all these things on your mind, you're not going to hear or receive anything.

Listen, when you come to church and press in, when you lift up your voice and begin to praise God, that's when victory comes. That's when God can deal and show you what your heart is really like.

Yes, when we press in, there's where we can get the victory. Usually, when the Spirit of God begins to move, the tears start streaming down our face. We're so tender to God at that moment: "Yes, Lord, I surrender all."

But Satan's there to try to hinder and stop us from really receiving from God. That's why we often have such a struggle in church.

Worship and praise belong unto God: not empty praise, but praising Him from our heart for salvation, for His long-suffering, for His tender mercies. There's so much to really praise Him for: for His compassions, for His keeping power, for being a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), for the fact that He's with us all the time.

Yes! Praise God! Praise Him for strength. Praise Him for health. Praise Him. He is so good!

I praise God for a mind to be in church. I praise God for a heart that loves Him. I praise Him for the strength and health to be in the house of the Lord. I praise the Lord that He's my helper. I praise the Lord that He's the author and finisher of my faith.

Oh, there are so many things we can really praise God for!

Praise Him because Jesus suffered and died for you, and praise Him because He lives. After all, because He lives you live also.

When we get into church and get our minds on God and on what He's done for us, and we begin to praise Him, we'll feel so much better.

But if we're strong-willed, rebellious, stiff-necked, hard-hearted, then we're just going to resist, and we're not going to receive from God.

Moses, a great leader of God, was shepherding a people who were stiff-necked. Stephen spoke of this in Acts chapter 7 when he was being stoned.

Exodus 32:9
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people

Acts 7:51
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

We find in the Word that when the stubborn and rebellious resisted God and did it their way, then they got in trouble with God.

Getting the Victory

Some cry out and touch the throne of God, really repenting, and are set completely free right then and there! Others find they struggle and struggle. They haven't really repented and stayed before God until they got the victory over this thing.

Some pray for two or three days for victory and get discouraged because the answer doesn't come right away. So they stop praying about it. "What's the use? I don't see any results."

Listen, it's a matter of eternal life . . . or death. Just because you called on God for salvation doesn't mean this evil will be overlooked.

I don't see where God allowed Lucifer to stay in heaven with his rebellion. What happened to him? God cast him out. He was not only rebellious; he also had pride.

And God isn't going to allow this self-will and rebellion in heaven either. I don't see that there's anything evil or wicked that is going to get inside the gates of that city. In fact, the Word of God would tell us just the opposite:

Galatians 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (italics mine).

I Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.

We've got to get these things out of our lives! There's no use sitting around deceiving ourselves any longer!

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