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Applying the Character Quality of Flexibility

Flexibility vs. Resistance

3 min

Flexibility is not setting my affections on plans or places that could be changed by those whom I am serving.

Flexibility is an important and necessary character quality, yet the word flexibility is not used in the Bible. Thus, a search for the concept of flexibility must be carried out. One must understand that being flexible will usually involve change and that change will often result in tension. According to studies, one of the most stressful events in life is uprooting the family and moving to a new location—especially one that is unknown.

With this in mind, we see that flexibility is one of the first qualities that God teaches His followers. God called Abraham to leave his country and kindred and move to a land that He would show him. He called the nation of Israel out of Egypt, and throughout their wilderness journey He had them watch the cloud over the Tabernacle. When the cloud moved, they were to move. Therefore, they had to be in a constant state of flexibility.

When Jesus called His disciples, He asked them to leave their homes and vocations and follow after Him.

Peter described the essence of flexibility when he wrote, “I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims …” (I Peter 2:11). A stranger is a visitor from another country, and a pilgrim is “one who journeys in foreign lands” or “one who travels to a holy place as a devotee.” The necessity for such an outlook is underscored by our need to be in the world but not of the world.

The flexible attitude of “strangers and pilgrims” is related to conquering the lusts that war against the soul. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Peter 2:11).

God instructs us to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:15–17).

How Does Flexibility Relate to Serving?

An excellent example of flexibility in serving is referred to in the following passage: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God …” (Psalm 123:2).

Flexibility is the willingness to change plans or ideas according to the direction of our authorities. The less we become emotionally involved in plans or ideas, the easier it will be to change them.

Martha was attentive to the details of serving, but Mary was attentive to the personal teaching and direction of the Lord. (See Luke 10:38–42.)

Ultimately, flexibility is based on the desire and delight to do the will of God, and an inflexible attitude reveals an insistence to do our own wills. David was flexible because he delighted to do the will of God. (See Psalm 40:8.)

Flexibility is the willingness to change plans or ideas according to the direction of our authorities.

Personal Evaluation

  • When plans are changed, do you get discouraged, or do you look for reasons why the new plans could be better?
  • When you learn that you must move, does it cause anxiety in you, or do you rejoice in it as a further reminder that you are a stranger and a pilgrim?
  • When God calls you to a ministry or work, do you resist and make yourself busy with other activities?
  • When others suggest a better way to do something, do you try it, or do you keep doing it the way you had been doing it?
  • Do you misuse flexibility by having no daily plans or life goals?
  • Are the thoughts of your heart in harmony with the will of God so that changes are easy transitions?
Explore more about this topic in The Power for True Success

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