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Choices

January 2002
By: Laura Baker
God will many times allow us to have what we want, but later we bear the sorrow of our choice!

It is very sad to watch someone make decisions that you know ultimately will result in the devastation of his life. It is sadder still when he makes his decision in blatant rebellion against what he knows is right. He is not acting in ignorance. He has been warned. He sits before you and tells you he knows that what you are saying is right, but he is not willing to do what he knows is right.

All those who have done counseling for a period of time are well acquainted with this scenario. As counselor, you want to say something to dissuade your counselee from wrong because you know the sorrow and burdens that result when a heart turns away from the path of God to his own way. Such a heart is a rebellious heart. God has placed within each individual the ability to choose. Daily we should be about the process of training our wills to choose to do right. As we counsel individuals, we must stress personal responsibility for of attitude and behavior, acknowledging that our lives and theirs are the accumulation of our .

Galatians 6:1 says, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." We must love the individual enough to confront him with the truth. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love. Many do not view truth as love, but in reality there is no love that isn't based on truth. Life is precious; therefore, we must seize every opportunity to speak truth.

We rebel when we
resist the authority God
has placed over us
Authority might be defined as a person or agency designed by God to do three things: to exercise responsibility, to maintain order, and to create character in those under them. We must remember that authority is the mark of God's ownership of our lives. God says we are not our own "for we are bought with a price." God raises up God-ordained authority both to direct us in love and to chisel out character by challenging our will. If our will hardens beneath His hand, we miss the blessing, prolong the process, and increase the temperature in which the Master Craftsman must work.

Rebellion is the response of "maybe I will, maybe I won't" to our employer, spouse, or parents. It is the look of defiance. It is the clenched fist. It is the angry heart that obeys, albeit grudgingly. It says to God, "Don't tell me what to do." It says to the world, "I am my own final authority." So the first characteristic of rebellion is resistance to authority over us and thus resistance to God.

We rebel when we resent our circumstance
This characteristic is subtler than the first. It strikes back at the authority of God by challenging the circumstances He has allowed to come into our lives. These circumstances come from three sources:

1. Some circumstances are designed by God to bless us or test us, but either way, God desires to use the circumstance to accomplish His purpose in our life in order to develop character. We are not born with character. Character is developed and shaped by our relational influences and personal decisions. Our response to circumstances reveals our character.
The Roots of Rebellion

Are you in rebellion, beloved?
Does your heart in anger burn?
When the hand of pressure beckons
Does a bitter spirit churn?

Do you cry out through life's problems,
"God, You don't really care!"
Only missing, through rebellion,
The special love that's there.

Do you tend to blame the Master
For you have made?
When the sowing leads to reaping,
Do you somehow feel betrayed?

The root of all is rebellion;
Rebellion to God's control.
The root of it all is resistance
To letting Him rule your soul.

It eats at the fiber of spiritual growth,
It hinders God's work in your life.
It leads to a spirit of dark despair,
It leads to a spirit of strife.

But ah, it is not the plan of God
His leading to refuse.
The plan of God is a yielded will
That says, "Lord, what'er You choose."

"God whatever You send my way,
May my anxious heart be still;
And may I cease rebellion
And simply seek Your will."

—Russell Kelfer

2. Some circumstances are designed by Satan to destroy God's purposes but ultimately will always be used by God to accomplish His purpose in our life. The swimming accident that caused Joni Eareckson Tada to become a quadriplegic certainly could have been used by Satan to destroy God's purposes. However, Joni turned her tragedy into triumph, by the grace of God. As a result God developed in her a beautiful, godly character that has inspired thousands of people the world over. As Christians, we must recognize that God is sovereign. Therefore, if we allow resentment, hostility, or bitterness to engulf us over the present circumstances, we are in rebellion against God.

3. Some circumstances are the result of our own poor . Even these can be used of God for His glory and our ultimate good.

We rebel when we refuse to accept the responsibility for our own Blame-shifting seems to be a national pastime. The spirit of rebellion never says, "I was wrong. I deserve to be disciplined." It always shifts blame to others and ultimately back to God. There are many things in life over which we have no control, but we do have control over our personal . We must accept responsibility for those . To fail to do so is a form of rebellion.

Rebellion is sin and an abomination to the Lord. In the same manner that we willfully and resolutely rebelled, we must willfully and resolutely turn from our rebellion and obey God. Obedience is a choice. The first step toward change is to recognize rebellion as sin, a sin that God hates.

Often our rebellion arises in response to circumstances that we regard as unfair or in response to perceived mistreatment by others. Pitying ourselves, blaming others for our sad state, we feed our rebellion and forget that God is sovereign. But He is sovereign. Instead, we must trust Him to work each unpleasant or terrible circumstance for our good and His glory.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Baker founded Prasso Ministries, a discipleship ministry for hurting people. Excerpts from Prasso materials were used in this article. The Prasso program is available to ministries. Call 1-864-244-2994 or write Prasso, 2718-B, Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville, SC 29615.

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