Question of the week: Can God still work through a Christian even if that Christian has many stubborn tendencies?
My brief answer: The short answer is yes. A slightly longer answer is that since all Christians have at least some stubborn tendencies and God wants to work through all Christians, God will work through a Christian even if that Christian has glaring stubborn tendencies.
My longer answer: Christians in their lives on Earth will experience God delivering them from many of their stubborn tendencies. However, it is a process, and complete deliverance will not occur in this life. Complete deliverance happens when we are glorified in the next life. That complete deliverance is described in 1 Corinthians 3:12–15.
The process of our being delivered from consistently insisting on our way is for us to come to God to be “tamed” by him. In the last four chapters of the Book of Job God reminds Job and his friends that it takes a higher being to tame the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field. Likewise, he tells them it takes a higher Being to bring humility to a proud human heart.
There are many biblical examples of God working through his human servants in spite of their stubborn ways. Two prominent examples are Abraham and Moses. Probably the most dramatic example is Jonah.
God not only works through believers. He also works through unbelievers. God’s common grace is poured out upon all humans. Prominent biblical examples of God working in the lives of unbelievers despite their stubbornness are Xerxes (Esther 1) and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3).
The posed question probably has in mind the degree of stubborn tendencies. Degree is certainly important. As the Bible repeatedly declares (for example James 4:6), God grants grace to the humble but resists the proud. One of the symptoms of pride is stubbornness. Therefore, if we want God to work through us more consistently, it is important that we do what we can to put aside our stubborn tendencies.
Most of us are blind to our stubborn tendencies. Personally, I have found one of the more effective ways of dealing with my stubbornness is to ask the people who are closest to me to point them out. When I see them especially eager to point them out, then I know I have a big problem that needs immediate attention and correction! I also know it is a big enough problem that I will need God’s help.