Flexibility is being open to the plans and ideas of others, and willing to be instructed and challenged to change for the better. You have to be willing to bend; if not, your relationship will break. This character will help us see the big picture, how people and events are all interlinked with a sovereign God at the controls. In this way, we can see that our plans and ways are not autonomous; we can trust God, go with His flow, and make the most of opportunities and relationships. Therefore, we will be able to make changes in our plans and ideas to accommodate others, and fit the situation, centered upon Scriptural precepts (Psalms 40:8; Luke 14:27; Colossians 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:4; 1 John 2:15-17).
Is the Character of Flexibility working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Flexibility, from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
How do I exhibit Flexibility in my daily life?
What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Adaptable with my time and resources—without compromising Biblical principles—so I am able to consider and value the role and opinion of others?
What blocks Flexibility from working and being exhibited in me?
How can I make Flexibility function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Genesis 12; Mark 1:16-18; Matthew 2:7-12; Acts 25:9-12; Philippians 1:23)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Genesis 19:12-28; 1 Samuel 15: 1-30; Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 10:38-42)
Inflexibility, Stubbornness, Arduousness, Conceit, and Self-Importance are all opposites. These traits are steeped in pride and are a heinous sight before our loving and Holy Lord! We see ourselves as the center, the key to the universe—or, at the very least, of what and who is around us. Therefore, we base all of our decisions on our needs and feelings, ignoring others, not seeing the big picture or being accommodating in order to make the right decisions and go in the right directions.
How would you define Flexibility? Are you an adaptable person? If so, what about when you have already made up your mind, or spent significant time and resources on your idea?
What part does Flexibility play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family?
How does being Conceited counteract Flexibility? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is inflexible?
What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you only consider your ideas and plans?
When have you been filled with Flexibility the most?
Can you think of a situation where you failed to be Adaptable although you should have been? Do you like to complain, or gossip critically, about others? If so, how does this glorify God and exhibit good character?
What issue is in your life that would improve with more Flexibility? Do you just give your opinion, or do you listen to others, too?
Think through the steps you need to take to put Flexibility into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I be willing to change my ideas or plans to accommodate others? Are there activities I have that interfere with family, friends or God call, if so what do I need to do? How can I be more enthusiastic when others express themselves or when other ideas and plans come up?
Flexibility will allow us to see our “delight” in the Lord, not in our plans or schedules. If you want to grow in faith, and in relationships, you have to be willing to stretch your Will so it can accommodate others. Yes, we need to set goals and have the best plans possible for our life’s direction and time management. We do this by gathering all of the essential information, thinking, spending a lot of time in prayer, and seeking godly advice. We also need to think through how it will affect all those in our life now, as well as its consequences in the future. That way, we can take the best course of action. And, when things do not go as planned, we can make course corrections—or even change ships!
One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail is because they do not adapt to changes in the market. I do not have a motorcycle because I am way too clumsy, but I still love them. There used to be hundreds of motorcycle manufactures in the US and Great Britain; now there is only one here, and one there. All of those countless motorcycle manufacturers and their business executives made very bad decisions. They ignored foresight and effective planning, and they failed to adapt to changes in customer likes and what the competition was doing. They allowed their pride to steer those companies without the understanding of the prospects and mission they could have had. Meanwhile, the Japanese manufactures grew in number as well as in sales volume. Even when Honda spent millions of dollars developing their flagship “Gold Wing” line a decade or so ago, they quickly redesigned it to fit the needs of the customer, ultimately making a completely different bike out of it. So, The Japanese are making the best and most bikes because they were able and willing to adapt and be flexible (I personally prefer a Harley, though). Because those companies failed to adapt and change to the needs of the public, they no longer exist, and we are left with fewer choices in biking. When Christians fail to be flexible, we, too, will go out of business with our faith and end up with lost connections and possibilities when we could have had relationships and ministry!
By being flexible, we are able to see how others can help and challenge us. We can see how everyone in our lives are placed there, by God, for a particular reason. We can see how God works and uses various people to touch our lives, and us to touch theirs. We have to be accommodating, and eliminate pride, so we can make the most of our lives and take the opportunities He gives us with excitement, even when it means our original plans are scrubbed. Perhaps our plans were not carefully thought through, or the timing was wrong, or we did not take into account how it would affect us or others down the road. Maybe our plans are better, but for the sake of relationships we adjust to others. The result will be better, because relationships are more important than plans.
Being stubborn used to be a compliment a couple of generations back that someone was remaining true to their principles and convictions, regardless of the opinion of others. This was in the era when Biblical precepts were more the norm, and the Church had more influence. Now, being stubborn refers to a person who refuses to listen or follow reason or logic. He or she only sees his/her Will and ideas. With this mindset, they bully their way over others, or withdraw from participating in church life or relationships in general, because he/she does not like what is going on. Yes, there is a time to take a moral stand and not be negatively influenced by the ways of the world. However, we still must be salt and light, and the only way to do that is be involved—even when things do not go our way. Our chief purpose in life is to glorify God—not our selves or our ideas—no matter how good they may be!
© 2003 Dr. R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org