Rebellion. Our resistance to authority or control, so says Webster. The word covers itself in appeal, flashing, tantalizing, and promising that which it can't even begin to fulfill. Still, many buy the lie, to one degree or another. Some dive headfirst into an empty swimming pool; after all, the rules are for someone else. This freedom is aMAzing.
...Until you break your neck.
But rebellion isn't all bad, right? It does bring some happiness. Yes, for a time. Even so, rebellion can't fulfill a heart restless. And rebellion will never usher in peace or joy. Wasn't it Augustine who said our hearts would be restless (or "unquiet") until they rest in God?
Those rebellious argue--it's not about God. They're right. Rebellion leads us to a place of ME-land. Don't concern me with your thoughts, your desires, or your boundaries. This life is for whatEVER I want.
A mom takes off and leaves two kids behind with a bewildered husband. "Sorry, I have to find out who I am again. I need time for me. I want to have fun again."
A teenage boy has started experimenting with drugs and explains, "It just helps me. I need this to cope with life. I want to feel relaxed again."
A woman sleeps with every guy who shows her attention, "I want to feel loved and accepted. It's it important for me to feel loved?"
Common theme? Me. Feelings. Comfort. Navel-gazing.
The theme of rebellion has one root: I want something I'm not supposed to have and that thing that is off-limits will fulfill me like nothing else can.
And the high of jumping out of a plane without a parachute keeps us happy and energized until we see the ground coming up fast.
Sadly, people do hit the ground. While some people see the reality of their decisions, others don't realize until eternity comes: that they rebelled--not against a set of dusty rules--but against the core of who they were created to be.
"A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers--including even his power to revolt. It's like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower." C. S. Lewis
Rebellion offers this sugary pill that life will be great if we just push aside the "least" important aspect of our being (and consequently, the only eternal part), our spirit, and instead focus on our emotional and physical desires. Because those facets are so much more reliable, right?
I'd say I've had three major rebellious periods in my life, where my heart desired "other" than what it was designed for. In other words, I was trying to fill up a circle with a triangle. And each of these seasons were preceded by a season of emptiness or longing. I wanted to feel something--whether it was acceptance, pleasure, or self abandon, I was all that mattered. Parents didn't matter, husband and kids didn't matter, what other people wanted didn't matter, what God thought didn't matter...I take that back. By His gracious hold on me, I didn't become completely callous to His touch. That ache told me, "This...this that you are chasing won't make you feel whole and free like I can." I know it was His grace that wouldn't let go, that wouldn't give me over to my carnal depravity. The touch that continued to scratch my heart and keep it from hardening altogether.
It may sound ludicrous to some but life is never more freeing then when you realize it isn't about you. Some want it to, but how much pressure can you really take.? Wouldn't it be more liberating to know there's a meaning, a hope beyond yourself?
Oddly, the most freeing thing we can ever do is to abdicate the throne of our own miniature kingdoms.”It comes back to what? Understanding what this life is for. Is it all about sucking everyone and everything dry till I am satisfied. If so, you have a lot of work to do. Better get going, vampire. But, if you actually believe that your spirit was made for more than a narcissistic devouring, all other humans step aside, and a Creator is a real possibility, that pit your spiraling down into won't be as light and luxurious as you think. The pit is muddy and suffocating. The pit will kill your soul.
― Beth Moore
For rebellion's hope is a mirage.
“As long as we live, our self-absorption and our insecurity will walk together, holding hands and swinging them back and forth like two little girls on their way to a pretend playground they can never find. Human nature dictates that most often we will be as insecure as we are self-absorbed. The best possible way to keep from getting sucked into the superficial narcissistic mentality that money, possessions, and sensuality can satisfy and secure us is to deliberately give ourselves to something much greater...[Christ] showed us that giving, rather than getting, is the means to receiving...to find yourself, your true self, you must lose yourself in something larger.” ― Beth Moore
Sorry to throw so many Beth Moore quotes at you, but if anyone understands what rebellion won't do for you, she does. She didn't just experiment, she plunged. And she came up from the water, sputtering and wondering, "Is this as good as it gets?" Where is the water that quenches thirst?
The water that quenches our being must come from the one who put our being together. For He is the only life for us (John 14:6).
For despite what you may think of death, it doesn't end here. Our spirits go on. An eternity awaits us, whether you believe it or not. And as John Piper put it, "If we don't join God [...] then we waste our lives and oppose our Creator."
Are you willing to ask your Creator and Sustainer, "God, what do you have for me? What will bring me eternal peace and joy...not just shallow happiness?" Be willing to ask. Be willing to listen. Be willing to step forward and obey. It's the only way.