In 1.3, we saw how troubles we get into for doing the wrong things affect us. We discovered that whether through Intentional or Unintentional Rebellion Against God’s Will, we suffer certain Consequences. And the type of suffering depends on the type of rebellion. Ignorance is no excuse. We all reap what we sow. We analyzed a few examples in the Bible of people who suffered diverse consequences as a result of their rebellion against God. So what’s God’s way out of rebellion?
There are eight main steps to consider:
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they Refuse To Acknowledge Their Sins. The Bible clearly states, ‘‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’’ (1 John 1:8, NKJV). Refusing to acknowledge your mistakes is another way to tell God that you don’t care and want to continue in your rebellion. Moreover, how can you possibly get a solution from Him if you can’t even see you’re wrong?
Many rebels fail to find lasting solutions to their troubles because they refuse to acknowledge their rebellious acts. When you acknowledge your rebellion, you tell God you’ve seen where you fell short of His glory. That’s an indication you want to learn some lessons and grow. Every parent on earth wants the son or daughter to acknowledge their mistakes. This enables the children to discover and apply possible prevention mechanisms in the future.
David cried out, ‘‘For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You alone have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight…’’ (Psalms 51:3-4). Simon the Sorcerer exclaimed, ‘‘Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me’’ (Acts 8:24, NKJV).
This is an obvious step to follow, isn’t it? But it’s sad to realize how many of us neglect it. Many times, people only concentrate on obtaining relief and solutions. They overlook this vital step. But if you truly want to walk your way out of rebellion God’s way, you must confess your mistakes to Him after acknowledging them.
The Bible says, ‘‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’’ (1 John 1:9).
God is our Creator. Every rebellion from us is primarily against Him. He is the first Person we should approach after we rebel. David immediately asked for forgiveness when prophet Nathan confronted him for committing adultery and murder. The People of Nineveh immediately repented after Jonah preached against their rebellious actions and possible disasters that would come upon them as a result (Jonah 3:5-10). When you ask for forgiveness from God, you’re re-establishing the broken fellowship with Him caused by sin.
Some of our rebellious actions affect people around us. When such is the case, it’s not enough to ask for forgiveness only from God. We also need to approach those we offended and ask them to forgive us. If we don’t ask for forgiveness from people we offended, our prayers may not be answered.
The Bible clearly says, ‘‘Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift’’ (Matthew 5:23-24, NKJV).
Many of us stumble on this point. We reject the voice that tells us to approach those we offended to seek forgiveness. When your rebellions actions hurt people, they keep those wounds in their hearts and hardly forget them. Each time they see or hear about you they remember your evil against them. That’s why it’s important to approach them.
But approach only people whom you know are hurt by your actions. Let’s assume you gossiped about your co-worker and the news reaches his ears. It’s not enough to tell God you’re sorry. You also have to approach this person and express your sincere regrets.
Your role is to sincerely approach any person you offended for forgiveness. If they refuse to accept your sincere regrets despite your persistence, that’s fine. You played your role perfectly. God’s knows how to handle the rest. You can’t be reproached when they refuse to forgive you. Move on with your life…
Your way to come out of sufferings caused by rebellion becomes very complicated when little things such as this are neglected. Let’s assume you stole something. You cannot ask for forgiveness from God and claim ownership of what you stole. You have to refund the thing to the owner. Even if you were not caught and have utilized what you stole, you should approach the people and negotiate with them – whether to refund or beg them to let go.
Oh yes, these are hard things to do. But there isn’t a better approach. Bury your fears and shame and do what’s necessary. Don’t make a fool of yourself. You hurt people. You can’t continue to live as if you did nothing. You have to straighten things out. The Bible clearly says ‘‘If possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men’’ (Romans 12:18, NKJV).
Note, however, that you can only make restitution for what is possible. Let’s say you knocked someone down with your car and the person died, you can’t resuscitate the person. All you can do is approach the family and ask for forgiveness. David could not bring back Uriah to life. But if you steal money or an item, you can make a refund. If you commit adultery, rape someone or fornicate, you can’t wipe off the act but can approach the people you hurt for forgiveness.
Your next step is to pray in accordance with God’s will. The Ecclesiast says, ‘‘…there is nothing new under the sun’’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NKJV). Someone else already experienced what you’re facing today. The stories, experiences and principles in the Bible are carefully collected by the Holy Spirit for our proper guidance. Paul says, ‘‘For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us’’ (2 Corinthians 1:20, NKJV).
Whatever situation we might face in this world, there is a Bible promise, case or principle we can refer to and apply in our own lives to take us through. Many people fail to find effective solutions because they neglect God’s promises and Biblical examples. Paul says the stories of the Bible serve as ‘‘examples’’ and are ‘‘written for our admonition’’ (1 Corinthians 10:11). When we pray according to God’s promise, it’s a sign that we want to do things His way, not our way. God starts the process to take us out of the miseries caused by the rebellion.
You can’t force God to act on your behalf. Our Father is a God of grace. He’s full of mercy. But we must also understand that He’s the Author of mercy and grace, not us.
God’s way of healing entails enduring hardships and painful situations, especially in rebellion. Only then can we truly learn to appreciate His favor. Moreover, God’s relief comes in His time, not ours. The Ecclesiast says, ‘‘…For every matter, there is time and judgement…’’ (Ecclesiastes 8:6, NKJV)
Many don’t like to endure, suffer and wait for God’s time. Even when they have committed atrocities, they tend to run away from their own actions. Oh no! It doesn’t work that way with God. If you want true healing, you must learn to endure. Wait for God’s promise to manifest. The Writer of Hebrews throws more light on this when he says, ‘‘…do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises’’ (Hebrews 6:12, NKJV).
A lack of patience and refusal to endure cause many to borrow compromising solution patterns. When we compromise God’s Word, it’s impossible to experience the fullness of His grace and favor.
As you patiently wait for God’s promises to manifest, many voices speak to you presenting flattering solutions to come out of misery. Be careful! Don’t listen to the world and its patterns. Look up to God. Everything is beautiful in God’s time.
When God takes you out of trouble, even those resulting from rebellion, He ensures that you grow to a higher spiritual level of faith. He also opens supernatural doors of favor for you. You use your bad experiences to teach others who slip. David said ‘‘Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You’’ (Psalm 51:12-13, NKJV).
We all make mistakes in life. The main problem is how we handle them. God isn’t interested in raising us up only to fall into the same mistakes over and over. He wants us to grow spiritually. When we rebel and suffer, He uses that as opportunities to inculcate His values to us. ‘‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes’’ (Psalm 119:71).
Don’t listen to those voices proposing premature solutions. Rely on the Holy Spirit and wait for God to open doors of favor.
No one likes to endure pain. When suffering, it’s common for many to behave as if they’re the only ones suffering. The Bible says, ‘‘Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world’’ (1 Peter 5:9, NKJV). Many people are experiencing the same hardships. In fact, some are going through harder situations.
Don’t show people you’re suffering. You don’t know what others are facing. Don’t let physical appearances deceive you. Approach someone with your troubles only if God directs you.
So rebellion against God can lead us into troubles. But God has promised to deliver us. Most especially, He wants to use those cases of rebellion to make us better utensils in His kingdom. ‘‘For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again…’’ (Proverbs 24:16, NKJV).
Nevertheless, it doesn’t come cheap. We must learn to handle things His way. In cases of rebellion, the eight steps above may help God manifest the fullness of His will in your life. What you do after your rebellion can determine how far you want God to use you. The wise will humble themselves and wait for God. The fools will continue in pride and waste their lives on earth. But I know you’ve chosen to be wise!
In 1.5, we learn more about how troubles caused by rebellion benefit us in life.