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There were many years in my Christian life when I was stubborn and rebellious. It took about three years for me to learn to submit to the Holy Spirit’s direction to put my grocery cart where it belongs in the parking lot. And it took more years than I want to admit to learn to listen to my husband, Dave, and take his advice without arguing and having a bad attitude about it.
I remember one day when I was praying fervently for my ministry to grow and how God got my attention about my rebellious behavior toward Dave. I was crying out to God and saying, “Oh, Lord, I rebuke the devil! God, please let my ministry grow so I can help more people.” Then He very clearly spoke to my heart and said, “Joyce, I cannot do one more thing in your ministry until you do what I’ve told you to do concerning your husband.”
This was so hard for me. My rebellious attitude had developed throughout my childhood when I was struggling to survive the abuse I experienced almost daily from my dad. I vowed to myself then that when I was able to leave home and be on my own, I would never let anyone tell me what to do again. So it took awhile for me to let the Holy Spirit heal the wounds in my soul and teach me how to submit to the authority He put in my life.
If you’ve got a mess in your life, there’s a good chance you haven’t been doing what God’s been telling you to do. However, if you will start making right choices, God will give you the ability to get through it and things will turn around for you. But be prepared, because when you start making an effort to be submissive, your flesh is going to have a screaming fit and you’ll need to spend a lot of time on your knees.
You may be wondering, If it’s so hard to do, why should I care? Because God withholds blessings from the rebellious for their own good – if He blesses disobedience, it will breed more disobedience.
I can honestly tell you that if I hadn’t surrendered my rebellious heart to God, my marriage wouldn’t be good, my relationship with God would have suffered, and my ministry wouldn’t have grown. You see, rebellion, and the disobedience it causes, keeps us from having the power of God that’s available to us as Christians. I don’t think there’s anyone who would say they don’t want or need more of God’s power in their life.
We need to know what rebellion is to really understand why it’s so dangerous. Rebellion is not just outward behavior but it’s an attitude problem and a heart issue. It resists authority, is likened to witchcraft in the Bible (see 1 Samuel 15:23), makes us unprofitable (see Hebrews 13:17), and brings judgment upon us (see Romans 13:1-2). These are just a few results.
But the good news is, we don’t have to live this way. I’m living proof that God can heal and change your heart to be submissive to His authority, as well as the people in authority over you that He puts in your life.
There’s a popular scripture that says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV). The word delight means “to be pliable and moldable in God’s hand.” So if you will be pliable in His hands, allow God to mold your heart, and do with you, in you and through you what He wants to do, then He will give you the desires of your heart.
I say this often and it bears repeating here: Anything God asks you to do is for your benefit. He always has your best interest at heart. And He’ll never ask you to do something without also giving you the ability to do it.
We just need to spend a lot of time with Him, learn to trust Him completely, and submit our will to Him. As you do these things, the Holy Spirit will faithfully lead you out of trouble and into the life that Jesus died to give you – a life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!
This article is taken from Joyce's four-CD series, The Truth About Obedience.