Living in a nation that was birthed in revolution, it is culturally fashionable to be hostile and suspicious of authority in America, a trend on the rise since the Vietnam War era. For teens, adolescence is a time of transition from parental authority to self-government, and along with the push from culture, rebellion against authority is an easy trap.
For the teen who wants to advance in the kingdom of God, however, we must march to a different drum than the “sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2, Colossians 3:6) “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols” says 1 Samuel 15:23.
Wow, think about that. If rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness (or arrogance, some translations say) is equivalent to idolatry, then both these traits in us must be recognized as fathered by Satan. If rebellion is the same as witchcraft, harboring a bad attitude and resentment toward those who are responsible for us, be it parents or school staff or our bosses or pastors, carries with it the same penalty as dabbling in witchcraft or bowing to an idol! That is, we distance ourselves from God and open ourselves up for curses.
Israel was described in Scripture as a rebel from birth. (Isaiah 48:8) “Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity” (Psalm 106:43).
Psalm 78:8 elaborates on where Israel went wrong: “a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.” This last part provides us with a key to avoid the pitfall of rebellion. We can prepare our hearts, and commit our spirits to faithfulness to God.
How do we prepare our hearts? We prepare the way of the Lord. That is, we make our hearts ready to submit to God’s government in us. (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1, Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3) When we have humbled ourselves under the mighty hand of God, in the proper time He will lift us up. (1 Peter 5:6) The original Greek for “lift up” in this verse means, “to raise to the very summit of opulence and prosperity.”
Are you angry at a parent? Disgruntled with a youth pastor? Even if your reasons are legitimate, how can you prepare your heart and keep your spirit faithful?