Rebellion vs. Obedience

Do you have a hard time submitting to the authority over you at work, in your family, at church, or in other situations? Do you disrespect authority figures by refusing to comply, or doing a poor job? 

The fact is that in life there are authority structures. In governments, in businesses, in churches, and in homes, some people are leaders over others. In different situations, indeed, each of us is a follower and a leader. Except in certain limited situations, to reject or undermine properly instituted authority is to rebel against the order God has established in human society.

Some people seem to be rebels and dissenters by nature.

Using either passive or aggressive tactics (maybe both), they seek to overthrow the authority that others have over them.

Obeying rankles with them, and so they do it as little as possible.

If this describes your behavior, you have a sin habit requiring repentance before God.

Rebellion against human authority figures is always rebellion against God in an indirect sense because it means refusing to accept the order He has established. But there is also such a thing as direct rebellion against God. Some people refuse to obey His commands in Scripture or His individual leading in their lives.

Certainly our normal response to authority should be obedience. But if a human leader is calling us to do something that would require us to disobey God, then we can and should refuse to obey the human leader. Actually, in such a case, we are still being obedient, only it is to the higher authority (God) when there is a conflict with a lesser authority (some human leader).

We want to be clear about one thing. In authority relationships, responsibility goes both ways. Possessing authority is never the same thing as having a license for tyranny. The misuse of power is as great a sin, perhaps greater, than rebellion.

The same New Testament passages that speak about children’s submission to their parents, wives’ submission to their husbands, and slaves’ submission to their masters also speak about the responsibilities of those in authority. In fact, Christians are all to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Leaders submit by serving righteously, while followers submit by cooperating willingly. In this way order and love may coexist.

As we said earlier, at different times and in different circumstances, all of us are both leaders and followers. For example, a woman may be a follower in relation to her boss at work and a leader to her child at home. When we are in positions of follow- ing, obedience should be our habitual practice.

The Greek word used for “submit” in Ephesians 5 came out of military experience. It referred to soldiers lining up in ranks under their officers. So when we are called to submit, we should get in line under the authority of our leaders. To do otherwise is to risk failure, even disaster, in the family or organization of which we are a part. For when the troops scatter, the war is lost.

If obedience is a virtue that does not come easily to you, you can learn it with God’s help. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, “He learned obedience from the things He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Seek the Holy Spirit for the ability to eliminate the ugliness of rebellion from your life and replace it with the beauty of obedience.

Begin now to heal the sin of rebellion in your life.

5 Steps to Overcome Rebellion

Discover how to overcome rebellion in its various forms through time-tested insights that really work!

We have outlined a five-step process in the free e-book, REBELLION: Playing Against Your Own Team, to help you work through the repair of that area of your life.

[Download REBELLION: Playing Against Your Own Team for free now!]

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