When I hear the word “rebel” my mind goes to the James Dean movie, “A Rebel Without A Cause.” To me, a rebel is someone who goes against the laws and rules of other; someone who does their own thing, not caring what others may think of them. Yesterday, our pastor talked about rebellion. He talked about how we all have rebellion in our hearts. This convicted me, because, to be truly honest, I too am a rebel. The word rebellion means to be disobedient towards God. It means that we resist His authority over our lives. This morning as I was praying, I realized that the conviction I felt yesterday was because I am a rebel at heart. I too have rebelled against God, and I need to confess and repent of it.
Daniel cried out to God in regards to the rebellion of Israel, as well as his own rebellious heart. “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness through we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.” (Daniel 9:9-10) Daniel comes before the Lord and does not say “they” but instead says “we”. We know that Daniel was a man of God. He was a great prophet in the days of Israel’s captivity in Babylon. Yet, Daniel recognized that rebellion was in his heart, as well as in the hearts of God’s people.
Do we recognize the rebellion of our hearts? I know that God has clearly told me to go to the right, but I instead chose to go left. I know that God has commanded me to love Him above all others, and to love my neighbor. But there are times when I love myself more than Him and could care less about others. I am a rebel at heart. As I pondered on this today, I asked the Lord, “Can we ever be free from rebellion? Can we ever be cleansed from a rebellious heart?
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good, I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil that I will not to do, that I practice. Now, if I do what I will not to do, it’s no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the laws of sin.” (Romans 7:18-25)
Paul clearly states that our rebellious hearts are a part of who we are. We are not to be free of rebellion until we are at home with the Lord. Rebellion against God was the sin of Adam and Eve, and in the flesh, we are their children, children with rebellious hearts. They knew what God had told them they could and could not do, yet they chose to do what they wanted to do. As long as we are in this body of flesh, rebellion against God will be a constant battle for us. There seems little hope then, doesn’t there, of ever being free from rebellion. But, we can be cleansed and we can be forgiven if we truly desire to live for Him and according to His word.
David Guziak writes, “Paul recognizes that as he sins, he acts against his nature as a new man in Jesus Christ. A Christian must own up to his sin, yet realize that the impulse to sin (to rebel) does not come from who we really are in Jesus Christ.” (www.blueletterbible.org) Rebellion comes from the old man, our old nature, which we must put off daily. We must recognize our rebellion and repent from it. Repentance for our rebel hearts should be a daily confession, a daily attitude of our heart. Without repentance, we will continue to fight and rebel against God more and more. He has shown us what is good, yet we choose to do what is wrong.
I have had people tell me that we are all good in some way. Every person on the earth has some good in them. This is false, there is none good, there is none that seek God, and there are none righteous. (Romans 3:12) Every single one of us, every day of our lives sins against God in our rebellion. We are rebels at heart. If we do not confess this and repent of it, then it will eventually affect our walks and we will become hardened towards God. We cannot claim that we are good, when we are not. We are a rebellious people, children who choose to do it our way instead of God’s way. If you think you are not a rebel at heart, then take heed, lest you fall away from God because your rebellion has hardened your heart towards Him.
Father God, I pray today that we would become children of repentance. That we would see the rebellious nature of our hearts and that we would confess before You, seeking Your forgiveness and Your mercy which alone can cleanse us from our wicked ways. Oh Father that we would become a Church that humbly acknowledges how desperate we are for You and Your love which You have bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Father, only through Jesus Christ can we be free from this body of death and from the rebels we are at heart. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.