ARE WE KNOWINGLY OPERATING OUT OF GOD’S WILL HOPING TO ESCAPE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ACTIONS?
Written by Mindy Schuman
For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:16-17 NKJV
As Christians there are times when, whether it be in obedience to God’s written word or distinct direction from the Holy Spirit, we have clear instructions from God about His will concerning a situation we are facing. Knowing and doing the will of God should be something we are continually conscious of in our daily walk with Jesus. Essentially, scripture teaches us that knowing the will of God is of utmost importance to the true believer and doing His will is the evidence of believing.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NKJV
Most of you reading this will probably already know that we seek and learn God’s will by reading and meditating on scripture, and by worshiping and seeking God in prayer. We can also receive knowledge of God’s will through the Holy Spirit speaking to us or through other trusted members of the body of Christ. So what happens then if we have sought to know God’s will concerning a specific situation in our lives, and have clear answers and direction? Do we take circumstances into our own hands despite knowing God’s will for our situation?
As believers, we must be careful not to do what is right in our own eyes, defying God, believing we know better than Him and not trusting Him despite His all-knowing and omnipresence over our life. When we defy God and His clear direction for our lives, we step into the sin of rebellion. And to take it one step further, when we ask others to pray for us as we knowingly step into rebellion against God, what is our motive? I ask these questions because I have seen many believers knowingly step out of God’s plan for their life, choosing to defy God and then even ask others to pray for them while doing so, seemingly hoping to operate in their rebellion against God’s will without consequence. They may be wanting God to bless the plans they have made for themselves, choosing to disregard His instructions, and hoping God will look the other way and minimize the repercussions of their rebellious actions.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews 10:26 NKJV
It is important to note that rebellion doesn’t just apply to the rowdy teenager that doesn’t come home before curfew. Rebellion against God as defined in 1 Samuel 15:23 is “as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” Rebellion applies anytime we seek to rebel against God’s word and His will, believing our thoughts and ways to be “higher” than God’s ways. When we do this, we stubbornly make an idol of our own wants and desires and want power and control over our own circumstances to handle as we see fit. If we know God’s will concerning a situation, and we choose to do something other than His will…we are in rebellion against God.
We see in 1 Samuel 15:13-26 (below) God rejecting Saul as King of Israel for not being obedient to the word of God through Samuel instructing him to totally wipe out the Amalekites. Saul complies, but then decides to keep some of their livestock with the intention of sacrificing burnt offerings to the Lord. Saul tells Samuel that his actions were due to his fear of the people, and instead of obeying the Lord’s voice he obeyed the voice of the people. What Saul considered an honorable sacrifice, God called disobedience. Scripture tells us that because he rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord rejected him as king.
13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
And he said to him, “Speak on.”
17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
22 So Samuel said:
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.”
26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
1 Samuel 15:13-26 NKJV
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
James 4:17 NKJV
I urge you today that if this is you, and you are thinking about doing something that you know God has clearly called you to stay away from, or if you haven’t done something that God is calling you to do, repent and ask God to help you. Ask Him for the grace to turn away from any rebellion in your life.
I believe God is showing me there are those that will read this that are walking closely with the Lord in most areas of their lives, but are in great danger of distancing themselves from God and bringing curses upon themselves by allowing what seems like “small” issues of rebellion. But these small issues can lead to big problems if not surrendered to the Lord. Surrender all areas of rebellion in your life to the Lord today, and watch Him not only protect you from danger and potential sorrow, but move even greater than you could imagine!