I woke up with a stiff neck today and I know how I got it. I was in the gym yesterday and working on my triceps. My body was sore from painting my daughter’s ceilings at her house the day before and I decided that I would keep the weights at a much lower weight than I normally used when I worked out.
I’ve had trouble with my neck in the past and know that when it stiffens up I need to rest it. In January 2011, I was having trouble with a stiff neck that wouldn’t go away. An MRI had revealed that I had degenerative changes in my cervical spine at the C4-C7 region of my neck “large posterior disc herniation that touches the anterior surface of the cervical cord uncinate hypertrophy bilaterally which results in the narrowing in the spinal canal”.
After a few months of therapy, I had a cervical epidural steroid injection (ESI) which is a cortisone injection into the epidural space surrounding spinal nerve roots to help alleviate pain in the upper spine/neck caused by irritated nerves.
So yesterday in the gym, I was doing some “seated two arm dumbbell extensions” and someone came over to the area that I was lifting at to do some “bicep curls”. I noticed that the individual was using smaller weights than I would use and that his arms weren’t very developed or defined, and my pride kicked in. I decided that I would try to “impress” him by lifting the heavier weights that I normally use since he was (probably) around thirty years younger than I.
He had switched to working his triceps and continued to using much, much lighter weights than I would use so I continued to use my normal weights for all of the different types of lifting that I was doing even though, as I stated before, my body was already sore and needed to rest.
And, so I woke up with a stiff neck today and I know how I got it. No, not from lifting, but from my pride; and not the good kind of pride either. This is the kind of pride that is arrogant, pompous, proud, swelling, and filled with haughtiness.
And God hates pride. In fact it is one of the six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him (See Proverbs 6:16-19). The Bible tells us that; “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).
When we have pride that is out of check in our lives it often times causes us to dig in our heels and we become “stiff-necked”. God hates it when we are stiff-necked. Throughout the Bible we see the frustration of this loving God who is slow to anger, and full of mercy and compassion pleading with His people who He calls; “stiff-necked”.
“But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.” (Jeremiah 17:23)
“Your fierceness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there," says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 49:16)
"You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51)
So what is the solution? We need to pay attention to things that fill our hearts with pride (the bad kind) BEFORE we get to the point where we become stiff-necked.
We need to humble ourselves before God: “Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah” (2 Chronicles 32:26)
We need to yield to God: “Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.” (2 Chronicles 30:8)
We need to respond to His grace and stay soft; without it we would surely fall away. Doing this, we will be much easier to live with; including to ourselves..
"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."