How miserable it is to be around a rebel teenager. They rebel against almost everything and treat their parents so rudely. Their daily interactions are devoid of respect and kindness. The ugliness of their rebellious attitude generates an awkward and uncomfortable atmosphere. On the other hand, what a joy it is to be around a teenager with a submissive spirit. Their grace and respectful attitude generates an inner-beauty that creates an inviting atmosphere.
Let me show you a picture of both a rebel and a submissive person. Let’s begin by looking at King Saul. He was given a command from the Lord to execute complete judgment on the Amalekites and destroy everything. Yet when Saul carried out his mission, he spared Agag, the king, and the best of the sheep and the cattle. When confronted by Samuel, he rationalizes his actions by saying, “I brought back the king, and the men spared the best of the animals to sacrifice to the Lord” (1 Sam. 15:12-16). Samuel says, “Stop! That’s enough!” Samuel has one question for Saul, “Why did you not obey the Lord?” Then he tells him what the Lord says about his actions:
1 Sam 15:22
"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king."
Saul never got the message that God prefers obedience to sacrifice. More than likely Saul was raised with his rebel heart. We are all rebels, and unless we go through the process of learning by being taught how to submit to God, we will always be rebellious and, like Saul, rationalize our disobedience.
We have to start working with our children when they are infants and toddlers. Certainly we need to love them, but true love trains them to respect our authority. If we allow a spirit of rebellion and arrogance to grow until it makes them to be a miserable person, we are failing as parents. The making of a rebel happens when our children are very little. It happens when we let them get away with being disrespectful to us and other adults. It happens when we allow their pride and arrogance to run rampant—so much so that they become rude to others and we never interfere.
If you as a parent allow that spirit—you will make the teacher’s job at school unbearable because of your negligence. If you don’t arrest this stubborn, selfish spirit when they are a small child, you are making a miserable husband or wife for their future mate.
Now let’s look at a submissive heart. This is one of the few passages where Jesus spoke of himself. The passage shows us his submissive heart. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt 11:28-30).
This passage is an invitation for all of us to lay down our rebellious hearts and yoke ourselves with Christ and take up a submissive heart. The burden of a submissive heart is light, and the burden of a rebel is hard.