I have been wondering lately, ”Why do some people rebel against the Lord and disobey what He tells them to do?”
Even if they know what He asks is good, they remain in disobedience.
It is a hard question, yet we must confront it for our ultimate freedom!
I am about to confess an example from my own life that does not feel good to expose.
Yet I will write about it in case it helps anyone struggling to get free from a stubborn spirit.
Rebelling against Good?
A few years ago, an incident with my husband paralleled how we can sometimes resist what the Lord asks us to do.
We were having Internet connectivity issues in our home. I asked my husband, Mike, to call the company to find out what was going on.
After he did that, he asked me to note the phone and account number in our password database in case of future trouble.
Simple, right? Yet, I did not want to do it!
My resistance made no sense to me because:
- The suggestion was a good one.
- The recommendation made sense.
- I knew Mike was right.
- I know Mike loves me and has the best interest of our household at heart.
So why did I resist doing this small thing he asked me to do?
Was my stubbornness based on truth, lies, or pride?
What does Rebellion Mean?
When I think of the word ”rebellion,” the movie ”Star Wars” comes to mind.
In the story, the ”rebels” were fighting against an unjust regime, the ”Empire.” The Empire kept the people under their rule through bondage and fear.
So the rebels revolted because they believed their government was unjust.
Teenagers can also rebel against parents for that same reason.
Now in the movie ”Star Wars,” the rebellion was based on truth because the Empire killed its citizens mercilessly.
In contrast, parents set boundaries to keep their children from harm! They also do it because they love them and want what is best for them.
If the teenager does not understand nor believe the parent’s motives, then they may believe they are fighting for freedom when they are really rebelling against good.
In my case, Mike’s request was not unjust nor unfair. So I needed to dig deeper to determine the source of my stubbornness.
The Root of Rebellion
The Bible says this about rebellion in 1 Samuel 15:23. The prophet Samuel was speaking to King Saul after Saul’s disobedience to the Lord’s instruction:
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
It is sobering to me that rebellion is compared to witchcraft, which comes from a compulsion to control other people or situations, even to the point of using demonically-driven manipulation to do it.
And stubbornness is compared to immorality, injustice and idolatry. Ouch!
Idolatry is elevating anything in your life above obedience to God.
This scripture gets to the heart of the matter and I admit, hurts to consider. But God’s word is doing what it is designed to do in our hearts:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.– Hebrews 4:12
In the case of Saul, he admitted that he was disobedient to the Lord because he feared the people. He obeyed their word rather than God’s word (see 1 Samuel 15:23).
If you are struggling with rebellion as an adult, then it is important to ask yourself: “What am I rebelling against?”
- Is the person or system unjust?
- Are they asking you to do something unjust?
If the answer to these questions is ”No,” then the root of the rebellion is not righteousness but pride.
Pride comes from our old sin/flesh nature. Pride says, “You can’t tell me what to do” or “You can’t make me.”
Stubbornness. rebellion, and pride go together.
Admitting when someone else is right feels like admitting that you are wrong or don’t know everything, which puts you in a position of humility.
But you know what?
Confronting any pride and rebellion in your heart puts you in a great position for a blessing!
Why? Because a character of humility positions you to receive.
James 4:6 tells us:
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
So in humility, I recognized that Mike was right; it was just my pride that did not want to admit it.
Once I recognized the root of my resistance, I took Mike’s suggestion and put the information in our database as he asked.
Taking his good suggestion was a strike against my pride and put us in a position of blessing because now we are better prepared for the future.
Rebel Against Evil
Before my successful weight loss journey, I had a spirit of rebellion against God because of a false view of Him.
Now, because I know the Lord as loving and believe that His plans for me are good, then I do not rebel against Him!
Instead, I submit to Him and rebel against the enemy, not the other way around!
This is a matter of Spiritual warfare.
Jesus told us the truth about the enemy in John 10:10:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
When you read that description of the devil, does it not sound like the evil Empire?
Does it not make sense to rebel against the devil and his efforts to destroy you rather than rebel against God who wants only good for you?
Jesus gave us a sober warning about obedience to Him in Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Obedience in the small things the Lord asks of us is basic training for us to receive greater from Him!
Luke 16:10 also illustrates this principle:
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
God’s blessings are bundled in obedience; our obedience shows our honor and respect for Him.
Even if obedience clashes with our pride and makes us uncomfortable to deny the flesh, yet we obey because we know that God loves us, that His word is good, and that His ways are right.
We do not make pride and stubbornness an idol. We do not deceive ourselves into making pride and stubbornness character traits to admire.
After all, God does not!
The more we obey Him through the strength He has provided through His Holy Spirit, the more peace and joy we will experience ultimately.
But the only way we know that is through submitting to God (good) and resisting the devil (evil).
With Godly wisdom, we make choices that we can OWN (because we believe in our hearts that it is good) and for which we can take responsibility.
My prayer is that we choose life every day in the choices we make and that we cling to the Lord through obedience to His word and ways!
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Are you struggling with the challenges of emotional eating? Many people with eating issues know what to do but have a hard time doing it. That is where you need a community that supports each other!