Monday, 03 March 2014 14:16

Coming Home: Why We Rebel and the Journey Back to God

Written by  Candy Arrington
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Although I can’t recall the circumstances, I remember deciding to run away from home. I was mad because I didn’t get my way. While I jammed things into my bulging suitcase, my mind churned. How far could I walk before dark? Where would I sleep? What would I eat? Tears stung my eyes. I felt sorry for myself.

 

My mother appeared. “What are you doing?”

 

“Running away!” I announced, hoping to upset her.

“Why don’t you wait until after lunch?” said Mama. “Then, if you still want to run away, I’ll help you pack.”

 

Relief flooded my five-year-old heart. Mama had just given me an “out” for something I wasn’t sure I wanted to do.

 

After lunch, I waited for her to ask if I still wanted to run away. The question never came. That day, I learned love and security meant more to me than getting my way.

 

It took the prodigal a little longer to figure this out. He did some riotous living and ate from the pig trough before realizing rebellion isn’t as great as it appears. We all have a rebellious nature. Here’s why:

 

 

We’re sinners

Sometimes we have the mistaken idea we’re innately good and mess up once in a while. According to Scripture, it’s the reverse: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is our nature and we have to battle against it constantly. Ignoring this fact causes us to fool ourselves and make bad decisions that get us into trouble.

 

 

We’re self-focused

The problem of self goes hand-in-hand with our sin nature. We want what we want when we want it. We’re impatient and usually don’t care who gets hurt as long as things go according to our plans. Luke 9:23 reminds us, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Denying self is a conscious decision. Self-denial requires looking beyond ourselves, realizing blessings, and reaching out to others who are struggling with issues bigger than our own.

 

 

We’re resistant to authority

The Bible chronicles many stories of rebellion: man against man, and man against God. We resist authority because we have an inflated opinion of our own wisdom and think we don’t need guidance. Resistance to authority is as old as Adam and Eve and takes effort to overcome.

 

 

Rebellion = Freedom?

Rebellion seems to offer freedom, but that kind of freedom is a mirage. Soon the consequences outweigh the momentary thrill of doing as we please.

 

 

Why rules?

God set boundaries for our protection. Without them we’d wander into situations that could harm us. God’s rules weren’t designed to keep us jumping through multiple hoops, but to provide guidelines for life. The central guideline instructs to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). When we keep our eyes on Jesus, and stay connected through Bible study and prayer, rules don’t feel restrictive. They provide security and guidance.

 

 

Turning around

Have you ever taken a road and later discovered, after traveling on it for a while, it’s leading you in the opposite direction from your intended destination? It takes an intentional course correction to get going in the right direction. The difficult part of changing direction involves admitting you’re wrong. This requires courage and maturity. But pride stops many of us from acknowledging we’ve made a mistake.

 

The lost son, despite previous poor choices, swallowed his pride, turned from the destructive path he was traveling, and came home. The key phrase in the story is “when he came to his senses,” (Luke 15:17). Often, God provides a come-to-our-senses moment, but we refuse to act on it. But just as my mother gave me an “out” when I threatened to run away from home, God always provides an escape route for irresponsible behavior, if we’re willing to take it.

 

 

Coming home

Home isn’t necessarily a house or a destination. “Home” is the process of cultivating an ongoing relationship with God. That relationship is a haven from the challenges we face and a refueling stop on the journey of life.

 

 

The Freedom of Forgiveness

The prodigal’s compassionate father understood the power of forgiveness. Although the Bible doesn’t say, perhaps the father, too, was a rebellious son with a forgiving father. The prodigal’s father greeted his son with open arms and provided a celebration for a son who strayed, realized his mistake, and came home. God offers us the same celebratory welcome when we make the decision to stop, change, and return. If we’re willing to admit our rebelliousness, our sin, He’s willing to forgive and forget. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12 NLT). What a great promise!

 

 

 

Candy Arrington is a freelance writer.

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:19
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