Are You Desperate to See?

Jesus didn't die so we could have a religion.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Just a Rebel at Heart

People sometimes inquire as to why I would enjoy working with teenagers as if I am a candidate for the mental institution based soley on that fact. I like teenagers because they are very giving and loving as long as you are not their parents. They need good people in their lives and are looking for direction and help whether they would ever admit it or not. They are fully capable of understanding situations and making decisions. Their personalities are their own.

Then I started to realize that on top of all of this, I identify with them very strongly. I like creativity and independence and the fact that they change from a child into some resemblance of what they will become. But I figured out much to my chagrin (it's the only word I can think of right now) that I identify with the rebellious attitude as well. I almost like it. Well, I did until I consciously realized that.

I was very rebellious. I found myself wondering a few weeks ago if there was such thing as innocent rebellion. I knew in my mind there wasn't but had no conviction about it. I remember in my earlier teen years doing things for fun that my parents wouldn't approve of like sneaking out of the house to go to the county fair on a school night. But that rebellion grew into a full blown ugly thing.

Today I began praying for the teens. I am specifically fasting for them today. During the prayer, I remembered a mental picture of a guy in the youth group who was sitting on a chair, arms crossed, completely ignoring his surroundings last Saturday during praise and worship time. This guy has been raised in church and in our youth group. He is now 18 and just pretends like it's okay. So that led me to another mental picture of how when people want to live life on their terms, they screw their eyes shut, stick fingers in their ears, purse their lips and hunch down. They are like a two or three year old that hides by shutting their eyes, figuring that since they can't see anyone, no one can see them.

God showed me that Rebellion destroys people. The Israelites wandered for 40 years because of rebellion. They only walked into the fullness of God's blessing when they would do ANYTHING for God. They would walk around a building seven times. They would punish people for what we might consider "small sins". They meant business with God. But until they were ready to do it God's way and depend on him even when they didn't understand or couldn't feel him, they would be lost.

Rebellion is not something to be proud of. It is not something that is a distinguishing mark for someone to figure out who they are. In fact, God makes us so unique that just by following his plan for us (obeying) we will end up with all the things we fight so hard for when we are in rebellion. We will get the purpose, the power, the life-changing awesomeness. We will break the mold, we will be set apart. We will have respect. We will have more freedom than we could dream of. Rebellion is oppressing.

We carry on our lives wanting to do things our way, wavering day by day or moment by moment to do things God's way or our way. We never make progress to move on in life and never get to experience the true freedom and blessings of a relationship with God. We build a block with obedience and then turn around and knock it over with our disobedience.

This is a long entry, but God was really working on my heart about rebellion. It is the destroyer of life, purpose, identity, godliness, peace, holiness, blessings, love and truth. It robs teens by convincing them that it is normal and acceptable and then proceeds to take away all the good things I just listed from their hands and the teens turn them over without a fuss because they think they can now do what they want.

I prayed this dumb rebellion right out of my heart today. I am no longer held entranced by it. I see it for what it is: a robber and a destroyer. It is not cool. It is not helping anyone.


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