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Rebellion to Restoration
by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of October 23, 2016
"Others have been with those who rebel against the light; they do not want to know its ways nor abide in its paths." -Job 24:13 (NASB)
Rebellion is a transgression against God and an opposition to any person. It is bitter. It is angry. It is stubborn. It is contention. It disputes. It defies God’s will. It disobeys. It is violent. It is corrupt. It is motivated by pride and is held in place in one’s heart by fear of lack.
Rebellion is the enemy’s counterfeit (bad) fruit to God’s Fruit of the Spirit known as patience (Gal 5:22).
1 Samuel 15:23 informs us…
"Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols."
Why is this?
Because rebellion is rooted in deception and does not trust God or wait on God or rely on God for His provision. Rebellion is a deception that serves the self.
Think: Fear over faith. Think: Pride. Think: Idol. Think: Israelites in the wilderness. Think: Agreement with the enemy, whose very nature is an all-about-me (not God) mentality.
Rebellion is a choice of withholding our hearts from God because we believe a lie that He has or will withhold His blessings from us. This lie of lack can remain in the will and memory of a Christian from as far back as their pre-salvation. It can reside in a secret cellar of the heart, locked away by fear of loss and anger, dividing the heart and mind and will, provoking the person to grip onto what they fear they will lose again (even to the extent of hoarding).
Rebellion is destructive to relationships and tasks because, by nature, it divides, which makes it counter to God’s unity and peace. It can affect large groups of people, even an entire generation. At its weakest, rebellion relents to temporary submission and obedience within a Christian’s heart. Therefore, it dis-empowers their love walk and hinders God’s blessings because it blocks God’s grace in their lives. It is a perpetual cycle of distrust in God, which produces more lack, a self-fulfilling process.
But there is a way out: God promises to restore us when we return to Him with our whole heart.
Rebellion doesn’t just go away. Our souls need to be sanctified. And we must be intentional.
We must take the courage that Jesus died to give us and exercise our free will to step out in great faith and hand over to Christ the dark issues we hold onto, to let the light of His truth shine upon them, to invite Him to cleanse us at the root of the issue—the fearful place that we never fully submitted to Jesus when we got saved, the secret area of lack.
We must repent of choosing fear as an idol within our heart and repent of not trusting God to provide for us.
Ezekiel 11:18-21 assures us…
"When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey My decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!"
Wholeheartedness is the only way to win this battle. There are no shortcuts. Anything less and we will live our lives on earth in a constant struggle of soul and spirit and wear ourselves out trying to get ahead in our own strength. Go for God’s restoration of heart and don’t lose heart.
We must know that our worth is securely tied to Jesus, who is worthy and stands in the gap for our unworthiness. We must understand our identity (Sonship) and inheritance through Jesus, who is grace and truth and light.
Ephesians 1:5-14 (NASB) reminds us…
"He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory."
Deliverance is Appointed
We should pray for those who are afflicted with a root of rebellion. They need God’s help. And they may have been rebellious for so long that they may not even aware of it anymore.
Habakkuk 2:3 assures us…
"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."
Know that as we rely upon and wait for God to bring deliverance of those who are rebellious, He will do a work in us to deepen our trust in Him (the opposite of rebellion) and, of course, stretch our capacity for patience (forbearance, endurance).
And when God completes His purposed work in us at the foundation level—using rebellion in someone else to press out the old wine in us—He will bring forth deliverance and justice and cause us to overflow with righteousness.
Patience is Key
God’s strategy to counter rebellion is patience, which is a Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Patience trusts God. When you trust God with the matters of your heart and at hand and wait patiently upon Him to bring deliverance, you will honor God and see His promises of deliverance come to pass. And the only way you will be able to do it long haul is to abide in God’s Word and presence through prayer and praise.
Patience (being slow to anger) is God’s battle strategy for anyone who is in relationship with a person who has a root of rebellion, as we see in Proverbs 15:18…
"A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel."
Likewise, patience (waiting long) is God’s battle strategy for dealing with the arrogance and violence of rebellion, as we see in Zephaniah 3:8…
"'Therefore, be patient,' says The Lord..."
Ephesians 4:1-5 reminds us to live holy and be humble and gentle in the wait for freedom and unity…
"Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in The Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all."
The process of deliverance from rebellion into redemption can be found in Zephaniah 3, where God restores Jerusalem. As you read, pay particular attention to these verses…
This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.