Surely you’ve rebelled a few times in your life. Even the times you weren’t caught count! It’s not just our outward actions that count as rebellion. Attitudes and thoughts can be equally as rebellious and lead to just as much—if not more—trouble. As we try to define rebellion, we can quickly get into trouble. We might narrow it to only mean those things that go against what others tell us we should or shouldn’t do. Can we really count those things as rebellion when we might not even agree with them? What about narrowing the definition even further to include only the things we believe we should or shouldn’t do? Well, haven’t your standards and reasons for behavior changed over time?
You can rationalize the rebellion of your teens years by stating your parents’ rules were ridiculous or declaring, “I was just a normal teenager.” You can rationalize what you did in the past even though you wouldn’t do it now because “I didn’t know better.” Couldn’t you perpetuate that cycle with the stuff you do now that doesn’t seem rebellious but might with the hindsight of a few more years?
We have to commit to a more solid definition of standards in order to accurately define rebellion. God’s truths and his guidelines don’t change. The concept of rebellion is quite simple: going against God’s guidelines is rebellion. That means you have rebelled. That means you will rebel in the future. But it also means you have to know God’s guidelines in order to follow them. God’s guidelines are the same whether you recognize them or not. God doesn’t change. You can make the excuse that you didn’t know, but what’s your excuse for not knowing? Is your excuse another case of rebellion?
Dig into God’s Word…
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. (Psalm 39:7-8, NLT)
But as for me, I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord. I am filled with justice and strength to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion. Listen to me, you leaders of Israel! You hate justice and twist all that is right. (Micah 3:8-9, NLT)
So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:7-12, NIV)
Live It Out Loud…
Pay attention to your social networking habits today. What is consistent and inconsistent with your faith? What is consistent and inconsistent with God’s will? Depending on the depth and breadth of your faith, you might assess these two categories in different ways, because you might not be familiar with God’s opinion in some areas. Jot a note each time you encounter an area that seems grey, when you’re not sure if you’re consistent or inconsistent with God’s ways. Hint: If you respond, “I don’t think God really cares about that area,” you need to add it to your list. God cares about every detail of your life.