Imagine blistering heat waves surging over your soul.
You’re dwelling in a desert. You’re parched and alone. You’re angry and afraid.
After surveying the thousands of miles that must be retraced to return, the desire for escape is stifled by overwhelming exhaustion.
God seems quite far and restoration an unreachable mirage.
Has this described a familiar illustration? If so, I’ll embrace transparency and confide something:
This is my story. In my lifetime, I have struggled with rebellion. It began in my tweens and has surfaced at several points since then. I’ve made more than one miserable trudge in that direction.
The Bible has something to say about this topic that holds achingly true:
“…the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” -Psalm 68:6b
There are seven truths I’ve learned from the desert of rebellion that leave me hating it every time:
Rebellion is never worth it.
The enemy wants to connive us into believing that rebellion is justified—that we have a right to “do our own thing” and disregard God’s Word or His commandment to honor our father and mother that it will go well with us (Ephesians 6:1-2).
Nothing justifies disrespect, but if we choose it, instead of ingesting the sweet fruit that submission yields, we must choke down the rotten fruit rightfully earned by our disobedience (Proverbs 1:31).
When being right becomes more important than peacefully yielding to what we know to be true in God’s Word, it leaves us angry and at odds with everyone around us. A barrier is built. We’re left a prisoner, isolated, with nothing but our vices for company. That’s a bitter price, friend, and I have had to painfully dole it out more than once. It reminds me of this quote:
“Satan gives Adam an apple, and takes away Paradise.
Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers, but what we shall lose.”
Rebellion breeds fear, anxiety, and guilt.
It is impossible for a rebellious person to be at peace. They are attacked with warring emotions of fear, anxiety, and guilt over their actions.
Rebellion stifles communion with God.
Like any sin, rebellion distances a relationship with God. He hates rebellion because it is “as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Sam. 15:23).
Rebellion stems from a broken, bitter heart.
Usually, someone who is rebellious has been wounded and instead of choosing to forgive their offender and seeking healing from God, they have clung to the offense and become bitter.
“There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.” -My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers
Rebellion wastes precious hours, minutes, and days.
Enjoyment of anything in life becomes unattainable with a rebellious mindset. Who can be genuinely happy with the byproducts I’ve discussed—bitterness, fear, anxiety, and guilt? I don’t know of anyone and it certainly hasn’t been possible in my own life.
Rebellion is defeatable!
By now, you’re probably asking:
Is there an anecdotal cure for someone in the desert of rebellion?
Yes, friend! There truly is. Here are some helpful steps:
Return to God and He will return to you – (Zechariah 1:3)
He knows how weak we are. He knows our intense fears. He longs to bear our load!
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV
Seek Godly counsel – (Proverbs 11:14)
This point is vital! Self-reliance is like beckoning defeat to stay awhile. It is incredible how much another person’s insight can give to a situation. They speak truth we might be blinded to and help us fix our mind on God’s Word.
Confess your faults to be healed – (James 5:16)
Someone told me recently to let a person I was bitter against off the hook forever. Confessing my bitterness and unloving attitude by asking that person to forgive me was essential to bringing me out of rebellion.
Let your thirst for God drive you to Him.
It’s difficult when your heart is such a dry ground, but plead for restoration and let your heart be watered by the Word (Psalm 23, Eph. 5:26).
Claim Psalm 63:1 as a constant prayer:
“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.”