Today we are going to continue this series looking at what some would say is a bit of a touchy subject, but it’s what I would say is a really important one and I will tell you why.  It’s because today may be the day that you discover the actually source of a lot of spiritual frustration in your life.  Because I think for so many of us, we are in this series listening to Ken and Sam speak and we are hearing how to break free from different forms of Spiritual Kryptonite that we may see in our lives, and hopefully we are working through this series and trying to DO different things to walk in that freedom, victory, and power that we keep hearing about…you know that we read in scripture and that we all want.  But for a lot of us, we can be doing a lot of really good things, and begin taking practical and very healthy steps towards holiness and still never really get to experience all that life could be with Jesus!  You know, that life to the full thing that Jesus told you He came to give you. Well I think I may have an answer as to why that is…and it is found in today’s kryptonite because as I thought about how I wanted to present this topic to you, I realized that this form of spiritual kryptonite goes a little deeper than we may think.  I would say that it can be the source of what takes, distracts, weakens and keeps us from hitting the mark of being a disciple of Christ…and if we don’t address it, I don’t think it can ever really get better for us, which leads to a pretty frustrating spiritual life…which no one wants.  We can look at a lot of what we have already talked about…whether that is idolatry, un-forgiveness, entitlement, pride and on and one we have gone…but in many ways these can all be symptoms but not the source of what we are dealing with deep down in our hearts.  Today I think we may actually be getting after the source.  Ok, I think I’ve hyped this one up enough now, today’s kryptonite is rebellion.

So I think for many of us when we think of a rebel, we are not picturing someone like us…am I right?  I also think we would all say that being rebellious is not a good thing…and it sounds intensely wrong.  The Bible says as much.  Remember this scripture from a couple weeks ago when we were talking about stubbornness?

1 Samuel 15:23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

So this idea of rebellion is pretty intense…God is speaking through the prophet Samuel here and he is saying that there really is no difference between rebellion and witchcraft!  I mean wow, right?  Now for many of us we are already thinking, man Sam…I have been feeling spiritually frustrated for years and years of my life.  You had me pretty excited a little bit ago when you said that we were going to maybe get into the true source of why I feel that way.  But then you say that the actually source could and probably is rebellion…and that isn’t me!  So we haven’t even gotten rolling today and already I’m thinking this kryptonite isn’t my issue.  Well, before we go any farther…let’s think about what rebellion really is, and try to personalize this some.  Because a rebel in your mind may be some naïve teenager who just doesn’t know any better, and thinks they do, or maybe you envision some major hipster unwilling to listen to authority, but I wonder if deep down we can’t all find a bit of this kryptonite in our lives…so let’s read the Message version of the very same verse…

1 Samuel 15:23 Not doing what GOD tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult.  Getting self-important around GOD is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors.  Because you said No to GOD’s command, he says No to your kingship. MSG

So when we read “rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft” that doesn’t seem to hit us where we live, but the Message seems to make this pretty real for us today as we read, “not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around with the occult.” So I want you tracking with me today.  Some of us have spent years and years of our lives feeling spiritually stuck.  We do a lot of good and healthy things to try and move towards God and live out these lives of freedom, victory, power that we see in scripture…but while we want it, we simply aren’t experiencing that type of life and I will tell you why, it’s because in the end we are only treating symptoms of the issue, but never the source.  So we see things like pride and try to deal with it.  We see something like entitlement and try to break free from it, but deep, deep down underneath those things, is this thing called rebellion…and if we only treat the symptoms we will never experience all that a life in Christ can be.  Are you tracking with me today?

This week I had my son Jaden at a place he works out called the Medgym.  Jaden loves distance running, loves Cross Country, and the long distance races in track, and really does well with them.  With this kind of sport comes very different types of exercise because there are very different kinds of injuries that can come from this type of specialized sport.  So twice a week he goes to the Medgym which all started with an injury to a muscle I had never heard of before called his Piriformis.  Not many have heard of this…I told you very specialized injuries.  Well this injury was a tough one for him, it literally took out his entire 8th grade Cross Country season…it was a tough one on me because I hated to see him struggle.  He was hurting, and while we were trying to get him treated, he just wasn’t getting better.  So we eventually took him to a different physical therapist and in the very first visit, the doctor said the other place absolutely had diagnosed the problem perfectly.  It is a piriformis injury…but the problem with a piriformis injury is that it comes from somewhere.  So if we don’t find out where this injury came from and why, he will never improve!  You don’t fix the piriformis, you fix the issue causing the piriformis to hurt.  Wow did that stick with me, and in just a couple of sessions and a lot of work Jaden was back and running again…well, what got him right?  It was when we stopped dealing with the place that hurt, and figured out the source of the pain!  I was thinking about this as Jaden was working out Monday evening, and I was walking along this nature trail near the place he works out and I kept thinking about the topic for this week’s talk and just how similar this is for you and I spiritually speaking.  We treat the thing we see, without ever dealing with the real core issue.  So we work on idolatry because we see it, but we never really get to why it’s there and we seem to keep sliding back into sin.  We work on holiness type things and just keep sliding back into sin issues.  And I think it’s because deep down things like rebellion sneak into our lives and we never realize that it’s there.  I mean I’m not rebellious but I certainly know what God should do for me next.  I know what things should look like in my head for sure…don’t you?  I know what my plan for life might be and it often times makes a lot more sense than God’s plan for my life!  As I walked along the creek that night, I had a lot on my mind…and I was thinking through sharing with you guys about rebellion, and also thinking through some stuff in my own life that I’m dealing with…I know crazy that I would deal with stuff too.  And I felt like God was showing me something about my own life and probably most of ours.  A lot of the reason we feel spiritually frustrated, tired, overwhelmed, and just off instead of walking in that freedom, victory, and power is because we know what life should look like, and instead of letting things go, and allowing God to lead…we are fighting God’s direction for our lives, and we may not even recognize it!  I kept thinking about Solomon’s words…

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. NLT

It’s funny but I think deep down this is all of our tension.  We have a plan.  We at least have an idea of what things should look like…but we aren’t in control, and I think it’s this wrestling match that can often keep us spiritually stuck…frustrated and overwhelmed and tired.  I don’t know that I would have labeled this as “rebellion” in my life…but I can see this tension, how about you?  A couple chapters later Solomon says this…

Proverbs 20:24 The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? NLT

So my hope is that you are tracking with me today, because I think we can all see different places in our lives where we are going to do, what we want, when we want.  We may not call ourselves rebellious or see rebellion in our own lives but can we just say it?  When it comes to certain areas of our lives, its hands off isn’t it?   So I will obey God’s law and the scriptures…unless it involves my finances.  I will obey God’s law and his commands, well unless it involves my time, and me resting.  I am not rebellious, but when it comes to what God says about those in authority over me…I mean if you knew my boss you would understand why I just can’t submit there…or if the person that I voted for would be in office then I could follow.  I know I need to do what God asks Sam but have you met my parents…or have you spent any time around my spouse?  Do you see it?  I may be hitting some nerves here today, but I want you to know that is important…because this rebellion thing is sneaky.  We need to see it, or we will keep treating symptoms and never get to the source of our issues spiritually.  So stay with me here, I know I just brought up money in church here but stay with me…and I mean, look out right…I almost dabbled into politics there and I used that ugly word “submit” a couple times, but hang in there!  Well let’s take a deep breath and talk for a moment, because this stuff is so important.

Ok so what exactly is rebellion?  Well rebellion is disobedience against those in authority over us or maybe another way to say it would be the rejection of those in authority over us.   In our Bibles it is clearly stated that God has delegated His authority.  Which means that rebellion to those in authority over us, is actually rebellion to God.  Check this out…

Romans 13:1 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. NLT

Oh boy…Ok, so I’m relatively new to Facebook, but I have learned that when it comes to politics…we people seem to get pretty excited, so just breathe for me, I need you to see this.  Paul is writing this from a jail cell, as the Roman Empire rules over him and the people he is writing to…by force and he is saying our job is to submit to or to obey our leadership…because God put it there.  So disobeying the authorities over us is actually disobeying God.  I can read to you that whole section of scripture there in case you are wondering if there are any loop holes or foot holes in Romans 13, but there is no stipulation for which party is in office, or whether or not you voted for that specific person in place.  So wow, right?  Did you think this way before?  That rebelling against authority over us is rebelling against God?  Peter echoes Paul here…

1 Peter 2:13 Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; 14 they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. 15 It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. 16 Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. 17 Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. MSG

So I wanted to back up my statement with showing you a few places we see this in scripture, it is clearly stated that God has delegated His authority. Rebellion to those in authority over us, is rebellion to God. The only time God permits us to disobey is when our leaders ask us to do something morally wrong or when they are outside their authority.  We must learn what it means to submit to God through His delegated authority and there are many forms of authority in our lives aren’t there?  I mean we have government officials (elected officials, the police, etc.) We have teachers, parents, coaches, and school officials.  We have employers in the work place.  If we are married we have our spouse, in the church we have our church leaders…and of course we have God.

So how are you doing?  You still with me?  Ha, maybe you are still scanning your Bibles to find a loop whole on tithing or your finances since I brought that money thing a few moments ago!  Maybe you heard the word government and you are now scanning social media or scripture to figure out which political party God said it’s ok to support…well, I want you back now.  Because there are two things I would like to bring up as we start landing the plane here today.  As I was preparing this talk I came across a scripture that I thought was really profound, because it tells me that when I submit to authority and stop kicking and screaming against those in authority over me not only am I obeying God…but that I’m supporting my leaders, and making their jobs a joy instead of a burden, and I want you to see this here…which ends up helping me in the end.  This is something I really wanted you to see today.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.  NIV

You know what, I’m going to tell you a little secret.  Leadership is hard.  It’s hard to take responsibility and make the big decisions that no one else wants to make.  Have you ever thought about how lonely, or stressful leadership can be for the person that is in authority over you?  Have you ever thought about how much harder there job is when everyone questions and criticizes them?  I wonder how many great leaders we have lost over the years because we made their job even harder because we just couldn’t support them and obey them.  It isn’t easy to be the person that is responsible…frankly you know what is easy?  Being the person who isn’t responsible and doesn’t have to make the tough calls, but can sit back and pick at them and questions them!  Leadership is hard and this scripture just told me that when I submit and obey and support…in the end it actually benefits me!

Does your child have a great teacher in school?  Have you built into that teacher’s life?  Do they know how grateful you are for them?  How about on the sports field?  Your child have someone willing to sacrifice time, and energy, and emotion to invest into your child on the sports field?  Have you ever wondered how that coach is doing?  Ever built into his or her life?  Ever reminded them of just how awesome they are?  Maybe it’s lonely over there on that coaching sideline wondering what all the parents are saying and thinking!  Ever think that by supporting your boss, teacher, coach, government officials that it actually builds into you as well?  It does…and that scripture really hit my heart as I prepared this message.  Our job is to build into our leaders…bringing them more passion and life, so that they can lead well!  This actually helps us in the end!  Maybe we should read that again just for fun.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.  NIV

Oh my word, can you imagine your child’s teacher inspired and empowered to freely invest into their students?  Can you imagine your child’s coach inspired and empowered, enjoying what they are doing on the field, and how they could build into your child without looking over their shoulder?  How about your boss?  What if they felt supported and cared for without feeling insecure as they made the next big decision for your company’s future? (which effects your future too)  How about in our churches, and beyond?   It would actually bring a different level of peace to your own life to stop pushing against and begin supporting those who are doing the difficult job of standing up to make the hard calls in life.  What an awesome way to show who we are as Christians…or we can keep making it hard on them, which actually makes it hard on us…but let’s keep going here today.

Ok, so we had some work to do today didn’t we?  This spiritual kryptonite is really sneaky, and frankly it’s everywhere.  Rebellion is often the source of so many other things that we often seem to wonder why we can’t find that freedom, victory, and power in our lives…while we keep trying to fix symptoms that we see, all the while deep down inside us, in places we probably don’t want to talk about at parties rebellion is the thing keeping us from standing in our true identity as Christians.  Rebellion is at the source of so much of this sin problem.  Paul says it this way…

Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. NIV

There is that pesky word submit again.  I wanted you to see how far reaching this rebellion thing is…it can be seen all over the place.  The issue is that it is hard to see.  It’s interesting when we start to grab hold of it though.  We think to ourselves I would never rebel against God…but we don’t follow Him fully.  We will go to church and maybe serve but when it comes to our money, forget it.  We don’t see ourselves as rebellious but we won’t stop and rest as God commanded and we can tell you every reason why that will never happen.  We don’t see rebellion in our lives but we keep battling to live our lives our way, knowing full well that it’s God determining our steps.  We wouldn’t consider ourselves rebellious but we continue to criticize and push against the people that God has placed in authority over us.  So we leave this kryptonite deep down in us and keep working on the stuff that is more obvious…all the while wondering where that life and life to the full is…cause we ain’t seeing it and we probably never will if we don’t identify this thing and then move to break free from it.

So how in the world would we do that?  Well, I think it starts by looking to Jesus and how He lived His life.  Remember He is God in skin, and He laid aside all of that privilege to live out God’s will…and we are so thankful that He did.  Jesus modeled the kind of life we should be living…

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  NIV

The only way that God’s will could be fulfilled is by Jesus laying down His own plans and desires…and paying the price for us all.  This is the ultimate picture of living life for God and God’s will.  That regardless of how bad it was going to hurt, or whether or not it was the picture of what He saw for himself…or even whether or not it made sense in His human brain…He would do what God wanted which culminates at the Cross, and we see it in the moments before He is crucified.

Luke 22:41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” NIV

We can’t get to this place unless we are spending time with God, allowing the focus to shift off of ourselves and on to Him.  So this is step one of a very simple two-step process to kill this rebellious spirit in your life, you must spend the necessary time with God to allow the focus to shift off of yourself and onto God…it’s the only way.

Second, you need to pray for those in authority over you!  Not just for them, but your heart towards them…in fact I believe this is how we need to close today.  With a time of prayer for the different areas of authority in our lives and our hearts for those leaders as well.