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.
Their actions are based on a lie.
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).
Saul made looking good before people (his Golden Image) into an idol.
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.
This false view even impacted my emotional eating habits!
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!
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This looks like a good to start
I believe it is, Diane. After all, the Bible asks, “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). So it is wise to ensure that we are walking in step with the Lord at all times 🙂
I really needed this at my current juncture in life. I was blaming a number of traumatic circumstances for my severe procrastination. I intend to study this lesson with deeper purpose, to refocus my attention on God’s good intentions towards me. I appreciate your openness and subsequent teaching on this sensitive matter.
I appreciate your feedback, Tracy! The Lord has a way of delivering the right word at the right time. I pray He continue to enlighten you. As He does, I believe He will enlarge your territory of influence for His kingdom and He will get the glory!
Thank you so much for this message Kimberly. Def timely for me personally and for the church. May be all walk in greater obedience and humility by His grace. He is worthy. Bless you
Amen, Nicole! Thank you for your confirmation and I agree with you in prayer about this ❤
This is SO good! I did not even know that behind my sneaky disobedience to God and my husband lurked the spirit of Pride. That makes so much sense! The conviction hurts but in a good way!! Thank you!
You are welcome, Lauren – I am so thankful that the Lord enlightened us!
For me, it is pride with certain people, even though I know they are godly and what they want makes sense. Because of my disabilities, I get upset when I am asked/told to do something beyond my abilities. God, keep me humble and gracious. I may not be able to do it (what they ask) but I do not need to grumble about it. Help me to be gracious in my dealings with others, even if I have to
I think most of us can increase in showing grace and patience with others, including me. So I am agreeing with you in prayer about that, Gladys!
This was a very good teaching in the word. Thank you.
Thank you, Deanna – all praise to God for His life-changing word!
This is one of my favorite lessons from you Kim. It’s one that you have to keep coming back to. There are so many nuggets of wisdom you can glean from. As they say in church lingo “it’s tight but it’s right!! My flesh didn’t want to hear this and was trying to make up all types of excuses but it’s the truth and I’ve been operating in rebellion, pride and stubbornness in some areas of my life especially my eating habits. I’ve come along way but I could be so much further. Thanks Kim!
You are welcome, Kennifer! “It’s not the truth that we know that frees us; it’s the truth that we don’t forget that frees us.” – Kathy Logan
Thank you. I needed that!
You are welcome Catherine!
Thank you Elizabeth for your encouragement! I am just beginning this journey so my mountain looks really big right now.
This message was for me today…Please Jesus give me the wisdom to deal with disobedience, pride and stubbornness. Amen.
Amen – I agree with you in prayer Monique!
Kimberly, thank you so much for this post. I have struggled (and still do struggle) with rebellion against the Lord. It has impacted every area of my life and my desire is to be free from the lie that I can’t trust God and have to do everything myself.
I know it’s only when I see God for who He truly is, as a loving, caring Father that I can trust Him fully and obey God wholeheartedly. Thank you so much for this post. As a friend of mine would say, “It’s right but it’s right!”
You are welcome, Regina! This issue is so difficult to confront when we see it in ourselves! But it shows clearly why we need a Savior. Thank you, Lord for bringing this issue into the light so we can better reflect your light in our relationships with others!
Hi! First time commenting, but not new to your books and program. I struggle with making time for a quiet with God. I don’t know why because it always makes me feel great. I guess it is rebellion. Thank you for writing this
Cecilia – don’t forget that you don’t have to confine your relationship with God to a certain time…you can talk with Him anytime as you go about your day…worship during your shower, thanking Him during exercise, singing to him in the car, seeking His wisdom in the daily choices you make. We aren’t talking about a legalistic requirement, but about making the presence of God in your life as natural as breathing. You cultivate the most important relationship in your life. It’s the most valuable one you can have.
Thank you so much for this article. Speaks to me! It’s an issue of pride
I am glad to hear that, Anu! Rebellion is a roadblock to blessings. With God’s help, you can remove that roadblock.
Thank you Kimberly for your honesty. That is a big one when it come to overeating. Thank you God for forgiving us.❤️
My first time writing a comment. My goodness you hit it right were I needed it. I’ve been a follower for a few years. Some times I just archive your messages without reading them…. thinking “I’ll get back later today “. But that I would consider a lie to myself. Thank you for ALL YOU DO! Bless You for sending us righteousness messages of My Heavenly Father of how to care for our body & soul
It’s wonderful you found the article helpful, Maria – God has a way of sending us the right words at the right time. I appreciate your kind word and am grateful to God for shining the light on this issue so we can make corrections with His help.
I must copy a lot of this in my journal! I do not want to mess or forget the truth that you’re showing me through scripture.
Awesome, Virginia! I applaud your courage to take a closer look at this because it affects so many of us without even realizing it. I thank the Lord for revealing this truth!
..I believe the root of my disobedience in the area of my struggle in particular with weight is me not identifying it as being a sin and me not being disobedient,which leads back to me being prideful. Who am I to just lay aside the sin of gluttony and being rebellious, as not important? Every word of Gods word is important and to be taken seriously.
Father please forgive me and help me to do and be better.
Thank you so much for this thought provoking indepth look at why we do what we do.
I am glad that the article spoke to you, Linda. Truth be told, I was reluctant about writing it but felt it was a struggle I had on my weight loss journey so others might relate. God always deals with us at the heart level because he knows that is where the issue starts.
Awareness is the first step of change and the second is coming into agreement with what God says, as you have done! The Holy Spirit is our teacher and empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own. Stay blessed, Linda and may the Lord continue to strengthen, help, and uphold you on this wonderful journey of walking with Him!
Happy 4th of July Kimberly.I hear fireworks all around me right now, so it seems Canada is celebrating with you 🙂
This article is definitely food for thought. I know God’s way is the best way. Any one who has submitted to Him will agree that walking with God means peace in your heart even though there is chaos around. My problem is that I take my eyes off God and then live in my sinful me-focused nature. Often it happens so smoothly I don’t consiously think about it, but maybe because in the past I have purposely rebelled and pushed away what was right…willful disobedience. I know God is good, so why do I rebel and do it my own way and stubbornly ignore the right path. It is the lie that this other path is temptingly good, when all it is is a path to disappointment. God, renew a right spirit within me!!! My friend and I did lesson 5 yesterday about renewing the mind. That was powerful. Yesterday was a good day. Today was a good day. Onward and upward. Thank you for this program. May God be glorified!
Hi Gaya – I appreciate your feedback and glad you enjoyed the ‘Renewing your Mind’ lesson! This issue goes back to the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit that Paul describes in Romans 7:21-25. But through Jesus, we now have a CHOICE to go a different direction. We have the Holy Spirit within us now and He is the most right Spirit we can have. The challenge is to renew our minds to the right way and go that way even when our flesh complains. God has made us a promise – that He has begun a good work in us and will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. That is a promise that gives us all hope!
Kimberly – – I so appreciate your honesty and openness in this article. I believe this is something that I am battling, but didn’t know how to name it. It is rebellion! Thank you for pointing this out and sharing. I believe this will help many people, as it has helped me. God Bless you and your family.
Wonderful, Janice! It does help to know that we are not alone in this battle but also that we have the victory through Jesus. May the Lord bless you Sister as you walk with Him daily.
Thank you, Kimberly! Your wisdom and teachings are blessings to me.