Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Like A Rebellious Teenager

I recently saw a movie in which the protagonist was a rebellious teen.  She was the product of the foster care system.  Her life experiences had hardened her, made her disrespectful to authority and unwilling to trust anybody.  These attitudes weren't her fault, these were just responses that her life had programmed into her.

In the movie, there were some good people struggling to save her from who she had become and who she was headed to become in the future.  She was fighting back because of her attitudes.  Even through they were trying to help her, she saw it as something she had to totally resist.

In many ways, we aren't so different from this rebellious teen, except that we hide it better.  Like her, we are convinced that we know what is best for our life.  We get immediately defensive if anybody tries to help by suggesting that we might want to do something different.  We get even worse if anybody suggests we are doing something wrong.  We don't really want help, we can mess up our life just fine, thank you!

God is the ultimate example of One that wants to help us.  He loves us and wants the best for us, but “the best for us” isn't usually where we direct our own life.  The result can easily be rebellion.

I was very rebellious toward God in my youth.  The way I was raised, I believed that God was a myth created by weak people that needed a crutch in life.  I didn't want anything to do with this crazy idea.  Sure, I had heard, many times, about how Jesus came and died to save sinners like me, but I knew hogwash when I heard it.

I recognize now that God reached out to me many times, but He was really easy to ignore.  I was sure the world was real and He was a myth.  That does not combine to leave a person open to the direction of God.

God says,

I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people who walk in the wrong path following their own thoughts.  These people continually provoke Me to My face...They say: Keep to yourself, don't come near me.  (Isaiah 65:2-3, 5)

God does reach out to rebellious people, I am testimony to that fact.  While I was drowning in the depth of my rebellion, He sent me a wonderful Christian girl to become my wife.  Even though I did not know the Lord, or even want to know Him, He sought me out.

Through my wife and through His incredible grace and power, He was able to show me His hand.  More than show me His hand, He touched me in such a way that I knew it was Him.  There was no mistaking or question in my normally-skeptical mind, I knew that at that moment I was being prayed for.  The overwhelming power of God that embraced me as I walked through the mall, that night while my wife was off at prayer group, was as tangible as the clothing rack I grabbed on to for support.  At that moment, I knew, for a certainty, that God existed.

I would love to be able to say that from that moment on, my rebellion was gone forever, but that would be a total lie.  Even today, I rebel against God's plan for my life.  He knows what is best for me, but I find myself making choices that are for me and what I want, even when I know it isn't what He wants for me.

Praise the Lord that He is a God of grace and patience, otherwise I am sure He would just strike me down and be done with me.  In spite of my ongoing rebellion, He still loves me and wants more for me than what I would choose for myself.  He wants to do, “above and beyond all that we ask or think – according to the power that works in you” (Ephesians 3:20).  He also says, “What no eye has seen and no ear has heard and what has never come into a man's heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Our choices for ourselves, which may seem like the satisfying option, are just short-changing ourselves because He wants better for us.  We set our sights so low, we might want wealth or acclaim, but He has a plan that is bigger than that.  While we might simply desire for more stuff, He wants us to become a spiritual giant that can make a real difference in this world.

We are just like the rebellious teen in the movie, she was being offered a loving home, but she made bad choices to get trinkets and short-term pleasures.  Her desire to follow her own path almost caused her to miss out on the greater things that were available.  For us, God has much greater things, more than we can even imagine.  Will our desire to run our own life cause us to miss out?

Humble yourselves therefore under the might hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

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