Q: I’d like to believe in Jesus and go to heaven and all that, but would I have to give up my freedom? Maybe I’m just a control freak (which my girlfriend says I am), but I don’t like the idea of anyone telling me what to do or how to live — not even God. — F.S.
A: I don’t know whether you’re what people call a “control freak,” but I do suspect that you have a very strong stubborn streak! As you’ve said, you don’t like to be told what to do (and what not to do), but stubbornly insist on having your own way.
It’s not always wrong to be stubborn, of course, not if we’re stubborn about the right things. Someone, for example, who stubbornly refuses to do wrong is to be commended. We also rightly honor those who stubbornly work against the odds to overcome poverty or hunger or racism, and try to make the world a better place. The Bible says, “Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
But stubbornness also can destroy us if we never listen to advice or won’t change our ways, even when we’re clearly wrong. Most of all, a stubborn attitude will destroy us spiritually if we turn our backs on God and insist on living apart from him. The prophet Jeremiah said of the people of his day, “They followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:24).
Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, turn to Jesus Christ and by faith commit your life to him. Then ask him to help you overcome your desire to run your own life and to change you instead into someone who is determined above all to live for Christ and follow him.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.