Adolescent Rebellion

As a new-born child we are naturally very dependent. In fact I have heard, and believe that, a human child is the weakest of all created species when first born, though we go on to become potentially the most dangerous and strongest, wielding tremendous power to do good or bad.

In the home the mother is the most visible provider for the child, seemingly providing what the child’s perceived needs are – warmth, affection, loving care and attention. Yet all this is taking place, almost entirely unseen, in the greater provision and shelter of the father who is providing the food, home and protection from harm, godly order, structure, power and authority.

Very often the child just takes the fathers contributions for granted. The mother is often seen as the real hero since her contributions are most visibly toward the body and soul – the “felt needs”. Of course the child does not feel the need for food, shelter, security, they are there – magically provided – they are regarded an unalienable right to the child and a undeniable duty of the father. (Think of the highly successful athelete, who, when he gets in front of the camera says, “Thanks Mom!”, you were always there for me while dad was off at work doing “his thing”).

This is not the message – the mystical contribution of dads – although it is a very important context for the message. I am walking us through the pit stops of life. It is God’s great purpose and wisdom that we move from our absolute dependency and innocence as very young children upon our parents or primary care-giver(s) toward the development of our own accountability, responsibility and personal volition and choice-making before Him, in a word – maturity.

As a child, naturally bent toward our self and our own needs and desires, we do not want to accept responsibility. This is all natural but stands in direct opposition to God’s purpose for the child. Again the child is to move from innocence toward personal accountability and maturity. Essentially we need to grow up.

Now the child, mother and father will all face a crisis point when a parent begins to move the child toward responsibility and accountability. One or the other parent will decide that a child needs to take more responsibility in an area that he/she is naturally resistant to. Often one or the other of the parents will sympathize with the child, often for selfish reasons, and interfere with the process of growing up. Bad idea. When this happens you have just made the parent taking the risk of rejection and misunderstanding and made them the “bad guy” while positioning yourself (either knowingly or unknowingly) as the “good guy”.

You have just set up the classic scenario to grow a rebellious child. The Bible tells us, “Children, obey your parents.” (Eph. 6:1, Col. 3:20). The child cannot. He or she must make a choice which parent or authority (e.g. master) to follow. Let me see, should I follow the one that wants me to do what I don’t want to do or the one that endorses my will? Duh.

This is the classic scenario of the Garden party. Eve was sashaying about in her uncovered state and “happened upon” the tree of Good and Evil. Now she has the word of her heavenly Father and her earthly father Adam (remember she came from Adam, out of him) and she is brought to a crisis. Do I do what my Father said, deny mySelf, or do I do what this other voice is telling me to do which in my eyes seems right? Duh.

So it is this choice that brings on an extreme crisis. Most often when faced with a crisis, a danger-opportunity scenario we like to go for the gusto and the cheap thrill of violating our conscience, it certainly excites some deep inner part of us. Yeah, but what part? That part that is set against the will of God, that fleshly, carnal, godless part.

Galatians 5:17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

And so the life of rebellion is birthed. When you violate the conscience or the Holy Spirit as the case may be, you open the door wide for the voice of Self. The first thing you hear is why you were justified (self-justification), then why it ok (self-rationalization), why it was not big deal and it doesn’t even really count (denial of guilt) and right along with the pack of Self deceptions comes this amazing shifting of responsibility to others (blame). You are now squarely on the broad path that leads to destruction, and you will notice how many are on the same path. It must be the right way, since everyone is going that way, right? Wrong!!!! A wise person once said, “It is doubtful the majority has ever been right.”

So this is the way we all go, yet not all. The children who have parents who are one, not divided in purpose or will, have a great power against the child’s willful lust for acting independently apart from their will. But that is a message for another day.

I just wanted you to see how easy it is to become rebellious. This trend that was established early in childhood of choosing to do my own will often remains in tact for many years. It is only by the grace of God that a child is turned to the Father’s heart and back unto the narrow path that leads to life and godliness – back to the Father.

Almost all go through adolescent rebellion, almost all remain there. But for those who receive the power to overcome the power of sin and death, they are led by the Spirit to become that fully mature, complete, grown up and absolutely dependent-upon-our-Father son.