Psalm 51:1-4 (NLT)
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.
Are you a rebel? Rebellion is resistance to or defiance of authority. For example, I am the authority in my house second only to my husband. My children recognize my authority and obey me because that is their perception of me. From time to time, they would test my authority and there were consequences for their action. My purpose from the start was to teach and discipline my children to become purposeful and productive adults. I hated punishing them and still do. Having five children has allowed me to experience a variety of responses to authority with some children who are avid rule followers and others who must attempt to step over every boundary ever set. (You know who you are and I love you just the same.) No matter how much they may frustrate me or test my patience, I love my children wholeheartedly. I believe that I would give my life for them if necessary. I want the very best for them which has at times forced me to choose between the roles of parent or friend for their own good. God is a Good Father. He loves us with unfailing love and complete faithfulness despite our ability to obey His Authority. The Gift of Grace provided by His Son, Jesus allows us to enter His Presence and step into right-standing with our Father despite our constant and willful rebellion. To accept God’s Great Compassion and to allow Him to blot out our sin and cleanse us from guilt purifying us from sin is to first recognize our rebellion. In the shadow of His Grace, many do not realize that they still live in rebellion against God and apart from His Promises due to unresolved sin. With this in mind, I have come to realize that despite my best intentions I am still a rebel.
Exodus 23:20-22 (NLT)
“See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you.”
There are many frustrated Christians today who cannot understand why they are not experiencing the Provision, Promises and Prosperity of God in their life. They have asked Jesus to be their Savior and accepted His Spirit yet still their life is a constant struggle with consuming consequences weighing down their life. We gladly accept Jesus as our Savior but few will acknowledge Him as Lord. His Lordship represents His Authority and Power in and over our life. We want His Power in our life but refuse to submit to His Authority over our life. To put it plainly – we do not fully obey God. Disobedience is not a provision of His Grace. Jesus Christ did not suffer and die so that you could live life any way you want and plunder the Kingdom of God as a traitorous raider. We want God’s Best our own way which is impossible. God has commissioned angels along the pathway that He planned for you to protect you on your journey but if you are going your own way then you are subject to certain dangers. God has prepared a place for you but if you decide on another destination then you should not expect to receive His Very Best. “If you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies.” The powers of hell will never again prevail in our life if we choose to carefully obey the Lord and follow His Instructions implicitly. God will oppose those who oppose you if you are His Child. “You must serve only the LORD your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives.” (Exodus 23:25-26) God has promised that if you will serve Him that He will bless you with food, water, protection, healing and “no miscarriages or infertility” which hinders and limits prosperity and production. You will have a long full life!
Joshua 24:19-21 (NLT)
Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you abandon the LORD and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.” But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!”
To accept the Grace offered by Jesus Christ means that He must be the Lord of our life. Grace is not available to those who abandon God until they turn back to Him. We acquire grace by faith. (Ephesians 2:8) Faith is our well-placed trust in the Lord which means that we are committed to following His Example. The trouble today is that we want something for nothing. You cannot obtain grace without faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ allows us to step into right-standing with God again and live in His Presence. Sin will prohibit this connection. Grace covers sin that has been surrendered but not those secretly hidden away or deemed acceptable by society due to human weakness. To serve the Lord is to fully obey His Word and make every effort to respond to His Leading. “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2) I do not believe it could be any plainer. To have the Blessings of God in our life requires obedience and care in keeping His Commands. Grace is available for those who try to be devoted to Christ and fall short but not those who do not try at all. This is not a new problem but is revealed in the Old Testament as people continue to remain bound by sin trying to use grace to make evil good. (Isaiah 5:18-21) All along crying out in their rebellion for the Lord to do something according to His Word yet they live in complete rebellion doing what they want when they want to. “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” (Titus 2:11-13) Sin accompanied us from our mother’s womb but grace begins when we ask Jesus to be our Savior and decide to make Him our Lord becoming devoted to God in this evil world.
I Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT)
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
Obedience is better than sacrifice. Submission is better than an offering. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft. Stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. Rebellion against God is perpetrated anytime that we choose our way over God’s Way. It is an act of opposition when we decide to do half of what God instructs us to do and not all of it. It caused the Lord to reject Saul. Saul had good intentions but they did not follow God’s Instruction so it is considered rebellion. Obedience is submissive compliance even when we are not sure of what God is doing or our way seems better. When we put down safety nets rather than trusting the Lord fully at His Word just in case He doesn’t come through, doubt is rebellion. Fear is rebellion because in that moment we are not trusting God. If this is the case as His Word clearly indicates labeling rebellion as heinous as witchcraft and stubbornness the same as worshiping idols than I am, indeed, a rebel. We have nothing to give God as a sacrifice that will exceed the measure of His Giving in Jesus Christ. So instead all we have to offer is obedience. Devotion to the Lord is how we prove allegiance to His Kingdom and His Name. Read Psalm 39. You will find David doing all the “right” things yet rebelling in his heart. We do it all the time becoming weighed down in our rebellion with burdens that we were not meant to carry but we abandoned God’s Route. The weight of disobedience is heavy although it can be subtle as well. I think the more mature believers are at the greatest risk as they align their life to the Law but forget to fully obey all the commandments of God. By beginning to evaluate and measure our life according to how the rest of the world lives rather than constantly renewing our commitment to walk completely in His Ways. It seems that just about the time I think I have figured out this thing called obedience, devotion and righteousness that I am back on my knees again because I have so much farther to go. “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:1-5) We must recognize rebellion for what it is and understand that people are innately inclined to do so.
Psalm 32:1-5 (NLT)
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
If it is true that rebellion is any time that we do not obey the Lord, then it is important to realize our defiance and repent. However, to repent and do nothing to change the behavior is not repentance at all. (Ezekiel 18:30-32) Grace is not permission to since but an opportunity to repent and turn from our sin and do good. The weight of disobedience is a heavy burden. When it feels like our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and we become overwhelmed, it is time to retrace our footsteps and determine if we have fallen off course. The moment that we repent for our rebellion it is important to turn from it or what is the point. You will get the same results without some kind of change. Isn’t that the definition of insanity and probably why most of the world is on some form of psychotropic drug, we do the same thing over and over again expecting different results and are devastated when things remain unchanged? It is time for the Body of Christ to wake up and make Jesus Christ the Lord of their life and become empowered by His Spirit to live holy lives devoted to God – then revival will come, miracles will be manifested and we will begin to experience the prosperity that we long for!
Isaiah 53:11-12 (NLT)
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
I have wonderful news today! Jesus Christ bore the sins of the rebels and intercedes for us even today. He has made it possible for us to be counted as righteous even though we once rebelled. By faith, we are saved by His Grace. Salvation is for the day of Christ’s Return when He will see all that is accomplished in His Anguish. Righteousness is for today. We can come boldly into the Presence of God through love and devotion to Christ. We are empowered by His Spirit to live obedient and prosperous lives before we ever meet our Savior face-to-face by choosing to make Him Lord of our life today! He was pierced for our rebellion. (vs. 5) He was struck down for our rebellion. (vs. 8) Jesus Christ demonstrated obedience to God. He is equal with God yet laid down His Crown to show us the way to become righteous again. (Philippians 2:5-10) He is the Way, Truth and Life. The only way that we can make it to God. Grace is not an excuse to live in sin and die impoverished but to live abundantly as God planned for you with a future and hope. To accept anything less or strive for anything more is rebellion against God and a limitation on our life. There is hope for the rebel – His Name is Jesus! “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9)
I Peter 3:10-12 (NLT)
For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
It is up to you and I how we will live. Whether or not we will obey and serve the Lord fully or half-heartedly is completely up to you as a provision of our freedom. Jesus knows our weaknesses because He carried them to the Cross. He also knows the depth of our rebellion because He bore that as well. To think that you are fooling the Lord in your attitude and actions is to be a fool. He knows full well what we are capable of. Jesus did not die on the Cross so you could rebel and have eternal life. He did so to provide a sufficient amount of grace for those who love Him and are devoted to serve Him to empower them to endure to the end. The closer that I get to the Lord the more and more my sin and weakness is revealed which requires a response. Will I continue to do the same things and expect different results or will I submit to the Lordship of Christ in my life and work hard to show the results of my salvation? It will take every ounce of effort to remain true to the Cross and demonstrate allegiance to Christ for it is against my rebellious nature. Make no mistake Jesus Christ has not changed for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God expects the same love and devotion from you now as He has always longed for. We live in a world that has fully rebelled against the Lord. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) God still expects allegiance from His Beloved. (Isaiah 45:22-25) We conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:21) We are do what is good and run from evil – all kinds of evil. (Amos 5:14-15) The opposite of righteousness is rebellion. Are you a rebel?
3 John 1:11 (NLT)
Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.