Rebellion in our hearts or in the heart of a young person is never attractive. It is born out of resistance. And while there may be good causes for acts of resistance, a rebellious heart is often closed to change, closed to reason and closed to correction. (See Proverbs 13:1, 18; 15:10.)
Rebellion has a main ingredient that travels with it: pride. A pride-filled heart will lead us into rebellion, because at its core it is the act of defending ourselves, our thoughts and our actions, be they right or wrong.
Having been a rebellious teenager and having a rebellious teenager does not make one an expert, but it does afford certain observations. (See Proverbs 17:25.) If we are astute enough to recognize our own heart or the heart of a child, rebellion can be addressed.
Consider these four causes of rebellion:
- When rules and regulations are strictly enforced through a spirit of legalism, often rebellion is an end result. Love is absent in these types of relationships or at the least, not spoken and/or not felt.
- Rebellion can be an attempt to separate through resistance from family members like parents, siblings or bosses.
- When one engages and relates with other rebellious persons, the influence will be difficult to overcome. It will force an alignment with the group’s rebellious words and actions.
- Wanting all authority to lead one’s own life without the ability to take on all responsibility will foster rebellion. Often teenagers desire all authority to make their own decisions but since they cannot take all responsibility, that authority cannot and should not be fully given.
Since Genesis chapter three, rebellion is found in the human heart and detected even at very early ages. It was mankind’s desire to do it his way. We were created to live in the perfection of a Genesis one and two world by God, but when we chose to rebel we found ourselves in a fallen, Genesis three, sin-filled world.
It was God’s heart to place mankind in a perfect garden, a perfect world with perfect relationship and by Genesis chapter three, God giving us choice, we chose to disobey. That disobedience caused a separation from our Creator and now thousands of years later we still suffer the consequences of wanting our own way, outside of God’s way. (See Proverbs 21:30.)
If we are rebelling against God or His written word, we are emphatically saying our way is a better way or, we think we know better than God knows. Those thoughts reek of pride. (See Proverbs 18:12.) We are saying to God, “I want all authority over my life.” And here is the strange thing about that: God will let you have it. There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12).
And you will be one miserable human being, quickly coming to the end of yourself. That’s the thing about rebellion: it is building a wall of separation, a wall that closes oneself off to input and a wall that stunts personal growth. It’s your wall, you’re in charge of it and you’re in control. It’s dangerous and it will become disastrous. (See Proverbs 16:25.)
If we sense any rebellion in our heart, we need to give up. Surrender. Leave selfish desires. Leave selfish ambitions and give our thoughts and actions to God, asking Him to shape our heart toward His.