Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Rebellious Attitude

     Because of the teacher in me, I had started working through the Bible study a couple of weeks before I actually started it with my ladies just so I would know what to expect and would be prepared. So now I have a confession: I put off doing the homework on a rebellious attitude for two weeks. Then it took me about two weeks to work through it. It was so convicting. Anybody who knows me would not call me a rebel at all. I mean I'm typically the goody two shoes rule follower. Definitely not a rebel. And yet a rebel is exactly what I am.

      Deep in my heart, like in every human heart, is the desire to be in charge. The nobody is going to tell me what to do attitude is present. Let's be honest, we get angry and upset when things don't go our way. James MacDonald references Bill Gothard's teaching about how authority is an umbrella of protection God places over us. When we rebel and step out from under that umbrella of authority God has placed in our lives, we open ourselves up to face consequences that we would have otherwise been protected from. MacDonald states, "Rebellion against proper authority reveals a deeper rejection of God's authority, which brings devastating consequences to our lives." (pp.167)

     Rebellion is defined as "knowing what God wants you to do and refusing to do it." (pp.169) That was a big ouch for me, and so very true. I know God wants me to forgive, but when I hold on to the wrongs or hurts done against me, I am rebelling. When I choose to speak my mind rather than speaking the truth in love, I am rebelling. When I choose not to tithe because it's a tight month, I am rebelling. Little things I consider not to be a big deal this one time are outright acts of rebellion against God. Pride is at the root of rebellion. Pride says I'm going to do things my way rather than God's way. We always have two choices, we can choose our way or God's way. The choice we make determines the direction our life will take. God will not bless someone who is living in outright rebellion to Him. We will always have to live with consequences of our rebellion. When we repent, God will give us grace to handle the consequences, but He does not take those consequences away. We still have to live with the aftershocks of our rebellion.

     There is a difference between punishment and discipline. Punishment is what Jesus paid on the cross when He died for our sins. He took our punishment. "Discipline is a painful circumstance allowed by God to transform a person's conduct and character." (pp.173) This was huge for me. God is not punishing me. Jesus took my punishment for me. When the Lord disciplines me, it's not punishment, but the process He is using to make me more like Jesus. I can choose to get discouraged by the trials of life because they're not fair. I can choose to hold onto the unfairness of these trials and become bitter. Or I can choose to embrace the process, walk through it with the Lord, and come out the other side more like Jesus and closer to the completed good work He wants to do in my life. I have tried to chose the latter as I walk through this journey after miscarriage. Some days and moments are easier than others. I want this journey to make me a better not bitter person. I want people to know that I didn't do this. I can't do this. I'm not strong enough on my own. I want people to know that Jesus did this in my life. He is my strength, and He carries me through each step of this process. I want to honor and the life and death of my baby. I feel like walking through this process and becoming more like Jesus does that in way that nothing else we could do would. I'm often sad when I think that no one except for Joshua and I will remember this baby in a couple years. But then I think the best way for this baby's memory to live on is for me to be more like Jesus because of this circumstance.

     MacDonald talks about how the job of transformation belongs to us and God. It's our willingness coupled with God's power that brings about true change. It's not so much about working on our attitude as much as it is about getting in a right relationship with God. When we are in a right relationship with God, He is able to the change the sinful attitudes we have. We must soften our hearts to His voice, pray, and seek Him. He wants to restore our relationship with Him, but we must be willing. When God's Word speaks to us, we must listen carefully and be obedient. God takes rebellion personally because ultimately we are not rebelling against human authority but against Him.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."
Proverbs 16:25

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