At Any Cost
“I’m not giving in, not at any cost!” is not something we as Christians are likely to consciously say out loud to God. When we rebel against what God wants and insist on our own way in any given situation - we are most likely in denial about it, or perhaps don’t even recognize what we’re doing. The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. So generally speaking, it’s not something that we’re open about doing. But, we do rebel, and we are stubborn, far too often.
Rebellion would be the opposite of submission. So perhaps it’s easier for us to say that sometimes we’re not the best at submitting - but we would never openly rebel against God. We make jokes about being stubborn and wanting things our own way, but maybe we just didn’t realize how bad this is in God’s eyes. Why is it shameful for a small child to openly throw a fit and rebel against her parents, especially in public? Yet we pout when God doesn’t do things our way.
We rebel when we pray against God’s Will. We rebel when we don’t pray at all. We rebel openly every single time we disobey Him.
Lately when anger comes upon me, or when I begin to act out of character, or when the urge comes over me to use profanity - I’ve begun to recognize God telling me that there is rebellion in my life.
Just the other day at a public pool I found myself getting very angry over petty little things. They had some of the dumbest rules, and the lifeguards were being particularly snotty at pointing out to me when I or my grandchildren did something not permitted - like the swim vest one child was wearing had (very small) flotation devices sewed into it. It was against the rules to wear it there. Later that same grandchild couldn’t sit up on the ledge of the hot tub with me. Come on, I knew he wasn’t allowed in the tub with me, but really, I thought they were being petty and it went beyond annoying me, to the point of anger, seemingly from no where. As I stood there in the pool, child clinging to me - it dawned on me. There was a spirit of rebellion controlling me! As soon as I prayed it went away. I quietly personalized a great quote from James 4:7 (Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.) “Lord, I submit myself to You, therefore, and I resist satan and he must flee from me right this minute! I’m sorry for allowing anger and rebellion to control my thoughts and my actions, please forgive me Lord.” Now because I was at the pool trying to have fun with my husband and my grandchildren - I didn’t really give it much thought after I told my husband how the anger miraculously vanished. But, had I let satan continue to badger me, and allowed my anger to get the better of me, we’d have surely gotten ourselves kicked out of the pool, permanently.
Rebellion has a subtle way of working it’s way into our hearts undetected, until it serves it’s purpose and we’ve committed sin. That is, unless we’re on guard. We need to guard our hearts. We need to be on the look out for the “little things” that sneak into our lives and slowly begin to take over.
We may not even realize what it is that we’re in rebellion about until we pray about it. I don’t really think that I was just in rebellion about the rules at the pool the other day. Obviously this is a touchy subject, even for me. I honestly want to believe that I submit myself to God, all the time. But this is something that takes a concentrated effort. It’s not in our human nature to submit.
At the beginning of all human relationships God says to the woman, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." (Genesis 3:16) That your desire should be for your husband doesn’t sound like part of a punishment, but when you study that phrase a little bit, you’ll find that it actually means that your desire will be to rule over your husband, but God goes on to say that instead, our husbands will rule over us. We can see clearly that woman in her fallen state today still wants to wear the pants in the family, she want to be the one in charge. But as Christian women, women who have been made right with God, we are to submit to our husbands -and to do it lovingly, with humility and meekness. Notwithstanding, our Christian husbands are to love us as Christ loves His Body, the church.
So often we rebel against our husbands, but even more we rebel against the God that created us to submit lovingly. Maybe the particular problem we have isn’t with our husbands, some of us aren’t even married. What do we rebel against so vehemently? Since rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft to God, do we need to look any further to find out why some of our prayers seem to go unanswered?