Through my teens and twenties, I embraced rebellion. In my ignorance, I imagined people perceived my strength as a person, through the degree of my rebellion. In my mind, the testament to my strength was the courage I had to stand against the status quo, to stand opposed to any hand that tried to steer my will. Rebellion says, “No one is master over me, I am my own master.” Ultimately, rebellion says, “I submit to no one because I am my own god.”
The devil is the personification of rebellion and pride. That is why scripture says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6,7). There is no humility in rebellion. Rebellion is the opposite of submission and surrender, both of which are required to be a true disciple of Christ. Scripture says, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.” (1 Sam 15:23). God compares the sin of rebellion with the sin of witchcraft because its core principle is to manipulate and control people and circumstances to your own desired end. Rebellion says I am my own god and witchcraft says I am god, either way is blasphemy.
Television, music and peers tell us to mix in some “bad girl” with our femininity, to embrace that rough edge and to make YOLO (you only live once) our battle-cry. But we don’t only live once, we live for eternity. And how we live this life here on earth, determines how we will live in eternity. I grew up in a culture that told me, “Blessed are those who are wealthy, happy, proud, arrogant, self-indulgent, pretty, sexy, promiscuous, talented and demanding.” But God’s standards of how we are to think and live our lives are usually the total opposite of what media and culture tell us are desirable. God says blessed are the poor in spirit, sorrowful, humble, merciful, pure, peaceable, persecuted and those who hunger for righteousness (Matt 5:1-12).
It took me a long time and a lot of hard work to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit to let go of the value I placed in an attitude of rebellion. Truly, it is the Holy Spirit that changes a person, but that person must cooperate in submission and obedience, and that my friends, is tenacious work. Work that is carried out with the help of God’s grace, but work that requires persistence nonetheless. It was so hard for me to acknowledge that the “bad girl” image I had tried so hard to live up to had become an idol in my life. It was so hard for me to let go of my own reasoning and to truly and completely allow Christ to clothe me with Him (Gal 3:27), rather than me continuing to clothe myself with the world and the desires of the world. No where in my testimony will I ever tell you that picking up my cross and dying to myself was easy for me. I will always be up-front in telling people that following Christ is simple, but it is not easy. Jesus Himself said we must “count the cost” (Luke 14:27-33).
As a woman, scripture says that I am to be respectable and modest (1 Tim 2:9) and that my beauty should not come from how I dress or how I do my makeup or hair, but from “the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:4). Neither should my value come from my education or my career or my talents, but rather from who I am in Christ which is to be walked out in a pure, chaste and reverent demeanor (1 Pet 3:2). Today, I no longer turn away from and resist submission, but rather I embrace it. Because it is through genuine and consistent daily surrender that I find my true strength in the woman that God created me to be– the woman I was created to be according to His standards, rather than the world’s.
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:27)
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Prov 31:30)
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:5-10)