The Spirit of Rebellion
The spirit of rebellion is something we should constantly be on guard against. It doesn’t manifest itself all at once. It’s very subtle, and little by little it takes hold of a person’s life. It can begin as a thought, a misunderstanding with your leader that was not dealt with. Were you wounded by someone’s actions or words who were in leadership? The seed of rebellion might be small but it can spread and grow very rapidly.
Has your leader (pastor, an apostle or whoever is over you) made a decision that you disagree with? Have you ever thought that you could do a better job than the leaders are doing? Do you easily get upset if you’re not recognized for the work you are doing? How did you respond? What were you truly thinking? This can be the beginning (the seed) of the spirit of rebellion. No leaders are always 100% right, neither do they make perfect decisions all the time. Moses was referred to as the meekest man on the earth. Yet he made mistakes as a leader. Remember when he was instructed to speak to the rock. Moses became angry with the people and instead of speaking to the rock he smote the rock. (That is striking the rock with his rod) God corrected him, but he still was the leader. It must be understood that God had placed leaders there because he has chosen them for the work they are doing. Rebellious people can never find a leader they are satisfied with, they always talk just about the negative things they find. They would never be subject to another man for the rest of their lives. Jesus Christ is the only one that they will be subject to. I’m sorry but all of this is the spirit of rebellion. Why do we always talk about the leaders that fail? There are many men and women of God who have been faithful to their calling. They had been consistent in carrying out the work of the Lord.
There is no perfect church, and if it was a perfect church the moment you stepped in the door the church lost that perfection.
Everyone should be subject to someone’s leadership.
“Obey they that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this were unprofitable for you.” (Heb 13:17)
If you ever would like to start a war just quote this Scripture. I will probably get some nasty IM (instant messages) asking who in the world do I think I am? “God told me not to obey anybody but him.” “That no one is right.” “I don’t need to be subject to anybody.” The problem with all this is you are disobeying the word of God. God has set leaders in the church. Some are pastors, prophets, teachers, but God had placed them in the church. Now you are saying that God has changed his mind and you do not need to be under anyone’s leadership. God is not confused; he does not have a short memory. He would not tell one to obey their leaders, and someone else that you not need a leader. He clearly states “Obey they that have the rule over you,” Most people who are making these statements have been hurt or misguided by some incident that happened in the church. They have allowed the spirit of rebellion to grow. The spirit of rebellion disrespects leadership, harbors resentment, and refuses be subject to anyone.
Do you have the spirit of Absalom (the spirit of rebellion)? Most of us are familiar with the story of Ammon, and how he took advantage of his sister Tamar. Tamar was Ammon half-sister, same father but different mothers. Her brother Absalom became very angry with Ammon for how he treated his sister. Their father King David did nothing (to our knowledge) to bring correction to Ammon. Here is where the spirit of rebellion started in Absalom, since his father King David did not act in a manner he thought he should have. Absalom did what he thought should have been done. We know that he killed his brother Ammon. He thought he knew more than his father did, he was not the leader of Israel King David was. While it is true, we don’t always understand, or know what our leaders are doing. We need to be careful that we do not take on the spirit of rebellion. Remember the leaders have a different outlook than you do. You may be only seeing one side of a given situation. The leader may be looking at every side. God had called and placed them in leadership and has given them the wisdom to lead. When you speak and rebel against leadership you are telling God that he has no knowledge of what he’s doing.
Absalom ran from the presence of his father but through a series of events he was brought back into the kingdom. Eventually he was able to get back into the presence of the king. The moment this happened he began to plan to take over his father’s kingdom. “And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” 2 Sam. 15:6
This is a very revealing scripture. “Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” This shows he has purposes and intentions of taking the kingdom from his father. He began by telling people if only he was a judge. He would make the correct decision. When they came to him and bow down, he would stop them and act as if he was so humble and not let them bow down to him. He intentionally deceived the hearts of the men of Israel. His real motive was to be the king of Israel. He did not want to wait until leadership was given to him, he was willing to take it by any means necessary.
Has the enemy ever planted thoughts into your mind about your leader? The idea that you can do better than your leader? Have you ever started your own little group within the church, or organization? Do you see yourself as a better teacher? Are you planning the demise of someone in leadership so you can be closer to the pastor? You need to wake up, the spirit of rebellion is residing in you. Do you refuse to listen to anyone? Did you start your church or organization because you were angry with your previous pastor or leader? You are in rebellion. Have you been hurt, and did not talk with the pastor, you just left the church? Maybe you misunderstood what was said. Does anything in this list applies to you, check it carefully.
1. Not faithful or loyal to leadership
2. Think they have more insight than the leader
3. Someone who has been offended by leadership
4. Someone who seeks praise and recognition
5. Will take matters into their own hands, if that do not like the leader’s decision or his actions
6. Will steal the hearts of the people “if I was the leader”
7. That they have the same anointing and knowledge that the leader has
8. Their decisions can be easily persuaded with finances
9. Will try to publicly shame or criticize the leader
10. Will start their own group within the church or organization.
11. Disobedience to leadership
Miriam and Aaron
Miriam and Aaron dislike Moses choice in choosing a wife. They came to set Moses straight. Let me paraphrase what they said to Moses. Do you think you are the only one that God speaks to? Has he not spoken to us also? What they were saying was, Moses God speaks to us just like he speaks to you. We are your equals. You know the rest of the story, God corrected them and let them know they were not on the same equal footing as Moses. He speaks to Moses face to face, or in other words directly. God said that he speaks to other men in dreams and visions. How many times have people told me we are all equal with God. I understand what they are trying to say, but actually that’s incorrect. You do not have the same standing as the leader. If that was the case, it would not be necessary to have a leader. God shares things with his leaders that he may not share with others. If you think you’re equal to your leader, how come God did not choose you to be the leader? We need to be more cautious in the way we approach leadership. Pastors are from the very heart of God, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer 3:15) This scripture also can be translated, pastor who seek my heart, or seek to have my heart. When you disrespect leaders you are disrespecting God. Even if your leader was in error you are not in a position to bring correction to him. Let me open your understanding. If a father is wrong, does the son have the right to correct him? The son may with respect question his father, but he is not on the same level to bring correction. Another father may do so, but the son would be out of his place.
The Rebellion of Korah
Korah and the people with him thought they were just as good as the sons of Levi and that Moses had taken too much authority. Who made him the leader anyway? Moses, we can talk to God just like you can, we have the right to offer up incense just like the priests. The end of the story is very tragic; the cost of their rebellion was their lives. The earth opened up and swallowed them, their belongings, children and wives and they were buried in the instant. Is someone you know going against leadership? You need to make every effort to get away from them. If they are not careful they will bring destruction to their lives and your life if you’re connected to them.
Training a New Generation
The generation that is coming up now seems to be born rebellious. Part of the reason is because of the family structure. There are too many single parent homes. That’s not a criticism, just a fact of this generation. God design of the family is a father and mother. Yes many women and man have done well in raising the children in their care, even in the adverse circumstances they was faced with. Whether it happened because of their partner previous lifestyle or the family being divided because of divorce. We must understand and help them recognize the potential dangers of being rebellious.
While I was talking to a group of young men, I ask one of the young men for his assistance. I said, “son would you come here for a minute?” His answer to me was “you are not my daddy.” I knew right away what issues he was dealing with, and already the spirit of rebellion was working in his life. Anything that represents authority is to be immediately rejected. Many of these young men and women bring that same spirit into the church. Yes they have been born-again. Jesus Christ has made a real difference in their lives. I’m a little old-fashioned, but I was taught to address senior people in a respectful manner. You may not say yes sir and no sir, but at least say yes and no in a respectful manner. I have been blessed with the privilege of training many men and women for ministry. Some come in ready and willing to learn, others come in thinking they are just as knowledgeable about the ministry as I am. Can I help you teach the class? I think you should add this to your curriculum. One even told me that he had special revelation and I should allow him to teach the entire class.
During the time I was living in Minneapolis and had just finished a project I was doing at the church, my vehicle was in the shop and I decided to catch the bus home. A young man walked up to the bus stop where I was waiting and he greeted me by saying “what’s up dog?” (I knew exactly what the slang meant) but I began to question him, “why would you walk up and call me a dog?” the young man was surprised, he never considered how his greeting really sounded. “No! No! I’m not calling you a dog.” he said. I asked did you not say “what’s up dog?” “Yes I did but I didn’t mean it that way”. He said, “Did you call me a dog? Do you know me that well that you can call me a dog?” I continued to question him in this manner for the next 2 to 3 minutes. He was trying to explain what he really meant. I know about the time the bus arrived he had a whole different outlook on his greeting. I knew his intention was never to be disrespectful, but he never really considered what he was saying. It’s almost like disrespect and rebellion seem to be built into this generation. By no means am I saying that this generation is lost and useless. In fact I think we are training one of the greatest generations on the face of the earth. We just have to teach them to spot the negative habits and to recognize the spirit of rebellion.
The Cost of Rebellion
The spirit of rebellion is manifested in our disobedience to God directions. King Saul was given directions by God to destroy the Amalek and all of their cattle. Saul did not obey God instructions and decided to keep the best of the animals and spare the life of the king of the Amalek, Agag.
“But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not completely destroy them. But everything that was vile and feeble they completely destroyed.” (1Sa 15:9)
Saul the king could have commanded the people to completely destroy all of the cattle and the Amalek, the people would have followed King Saul’s commands. He was a poor example of leadership, when the people saw his disobedience they mimicked their leader. Saul tried to justify his disobedience by pretending that the cattle they brought back were for the purpose of sacrifice and he was powerless to stop the people. Actually Saul was more interested in his own personal wealth rather than obeying the commandments of God. In that day and time your wealth could be determined by the number of cattle you possess. So he saw it as a fast and easy way to increase his wealth, and pretended that his purpose was to bring sacrifices to God. The truth of the matter was Saul’s heart had became rebellious against God and he was determined to do as he saw fit.
“And Samuel said, Does Jehovah delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice! To listen is better than the fat of rams! For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idol-worship. Because you have rejected the Word of Jehovah, He has also rejected you from being king!” (1Sa 15:22-23)
Sacrificing to God is useless if done with a disobedient and rebellious heart. The Lord only accepts the sacrifices of those who have a clean heart and are obedient to his commands. Rebellion is equal to the sin of witchcraft, Under the Old Testament anyone found practicing witchcraft was under the sentence of death. Unfortunately people are under the impression that they can live however they please, thinking they can buy God off through their giving. The spirit of rebellion cost Saul a very high price, he was rejected by God.
The spirit of rebellion very seldom happens all at one time. It can develop in our heart if it is not checked. You must be careful not to walk down the path that would lead to rebellion. It may be a misunderstanding of leadership, or being disobedient to God’s word, or being determined to do things your way. They all lead to the same path. I cannot imagine someone waking up and making a decision ‘I believe I have a rebellious heart against God’. It comes gradually, step by step, leading to a path that turns our hearts from God. Like Balaam for the reward of money, or Korah who spoke against the leadership of Moses in order to establish his own leadership. The spirit of rebellion always leads to a path of destruction. May we learn from David as he wrote these words in Psalm 51.
“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psa 51:6,10)
May this be the prayer of our hearts, that we may be free from the spirit of rebellion.