The Dust of Death

41sXdCyz+jL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Can one decade or generation have as much affect on a culture or nation as the 1960’s?

Os Guinness wrote his book, The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How it Changed America, just after living through the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960’s. Guinness charts with a socio-philosophical bent the journey of a generation, from the erosion of Christianity to the failure of the counterculture to provide an effective alternative to faith. The author calls for another “way” for the Western world, one of which combines conviction with compassion and deep spirituality.

Guinness himself writes an adequate description of his book in the Preface on the 1960’s,

“What we were witnessing … was the gradual disillusionment of a generation, even of a culture. Ideals had grown so distant they were barely distinguishable from illusions. Meaning had become a mirage. Eager minds, soaring beyond facts to a super-freedom of fantasy, had plunged earthwards. Even resolute action, which seemed to have rolled the stone almost to the top of the hill, paused for breath only to watch the stone roll backwards…. Beneath the efforts of a generation lay dust. Subsequent events and a closer inquiry, far from contradicting this suspicion, have served only to confirm it. The examination of this suspicion and the charting of an alternative is the burden of this book.”

Although the book was written about a decade that dates back almost 50 years now, the content is still current as we are continuing to live out the consequences of the sixties.

The book has several themes it unfolds such as: humanism, authority issues, violence, drugs, eastern religions and the occult. I would have liked if the book explored more on the themes of the sexual revolution, rise of postmodernism and the spirit of entitlement that also came out of the sixties.

REFLECTIONS

The influence of humanistic philosophy.

Humanism is just one facet of the Western culture,

“Western culture has been marked by a distinct slowing of momentum, or more accurately, by a decline in purposefulness and an increase in cultural introspection. The convergence of three cultural trends has created this vacuum in thought and effective action…the erosion of the Christian basis of Western culture…the failure of optimistic humanism…the failure of the sixties’ counterculture.” p.18

Humanism has it’s roots into a cultural change 500 years ago,

“The legacy of the Renaissance is humanism, then the contribution of the Enlightenment is paganism.” p.21

Humanism is an idea, but it fails in reality.

“Optimistic humanism appeals to the highest of human aspirations, but it ignores the full reality of human aberrations.” p.32

A utopian mindset.

The Western culture has moved to a utopian mindset that tries to adopt anything,

“When people cease to believe in God, they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything. Cheapness and confusion will be the religious climate of the next years…faddish faith can be as dangerous as false faith.” p.67

Authority Issues.

One can look at the sixties and say that is was a time of rebellion against authority. Yet it was a populous shifting the authoritative hat,

“A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the art whereby one part of the population imposes its will on the other part…without authoritarian means no revolution would be successful.” p.148

Violence breeds more violence.

The chapter on violence was the most disturbing, but also the most revealing chapter of the book. What was shocking was to embrace the fact that America had a violent beginning,

“A resort to violence as the American way of life. From the killing of the red people and the enslaving of the black people down to the assassinations, such violence is a reoccurring theme. The only time excepted was the fifty years after the Civil War.” pp.168-169

This has made violence one of our marks,

“When they begin by viewing violence as ‘normal’ they soon slide into viewing it a ‘necessary’ and then as ‘legitimate’.” p.158

As you look at the nonsensical violence that happens in American and the West it is plain to see how this mindset plays out. Violence is frighteningly accepted in media and movies. Look at the school shootings and massacres that happen. It is breed out of this acceptance of violence. As Guinness states how younger generations are taught,

“The school authority does not represent order so much as repression, as it is a system where the boys are taught to ‘fight’ in sports, army training, and the Chapel religion fight the good fight of faith. Thus the eventual violence in response is justified. It is not crisis but catharsis, an assertion and discovery of freedom from repression.” p.157

A statement from John McCain’s lasts statement to the nation,

“We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process. We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.”

Guinness sees no justification for violence,

“For the Christian, a single human being made in the image of God is unique. Therefore violence can never be justified. Its pragmatic usefulness cannot be calculated in terms of individual lives, whether by a murder or by scenario scientists plating strategies of future wars in terms of mega-deaths. Violence has a dark record. It corrupts the best of ends and brutalizes the bravest ideals.” p.178

However, Guinness does believe there is a justification for “force”,

“Provided that there is a legitimate basis for its use and a vigilant precaution against its overreaction in practice, a qualified use of force is not only necessary but justifiable. Within Christian framework there is the possibility of truth, justice, and authority that are not arbitrary, relativistic, or mystifying. Thus an important distinction between force and violence is possible. Force, on the one hand, is the controlling discipline of truth, justice and authority in action. Violence, on the other hand, can come from one of three directions—from the maintenance of authority without a legitimate basis, from the contravention of a legitimate authority, or from the injustice of a legitimate overreacting as it deals with opposition or violation. Overreaction in the name of truth too easily becomes the ugly horror of violence once again.” p.180

“Provided that there is no compliance with the violent and no condoning of the violence, a qualified understanding of violence is both necessary and justifiable. To a limited extent violence is effective in unmasking hypocrisy, liberating the oppressed, and judging the oppressor.” p.183

Experimentalism.

Experience often minimizes God,

“Meaning is no longer what God means about himself to human beings, but rather what human beings mean as they search for God and express themselves in human terms.” p.318

We live in a culture that maximizing experiences,

“If the intellect cannot handle God, who is known only in encounter or crisis, then truth—in other words, the grounds for trustworthiness—is totally subjective, outside the area of conceptual knowledge or words. The depth of trust depends on the depth of the experience…In a day of spiritual counterfeits and confusion, there is no way to know whether what we are experiencing is God, an “angel of light,” an acid trip or a theologian’s hoax.” pp.340-341

Our church culture has also watered down truth,

“The net effect of all these movements—liberalism, extreme fundamentalism, ecumenism, Pentecostalism—has been to devalue truth, blur the uniqueness of the Christian faith, and leave historic Christian faith shorn of its greatest strength—its claim to be true.” p.321

The need for falsification or testing our faith is necessary,

“For the Christian the validity of the principle of falsification is welcomed as a genuine test of the integrity of faith.” p.341

At the end of the day Christians believe the Book is from God,

“The Christian faith is not even true because the Bible says so, but rather because God who is the ultimate screen of truth has said so.” p.343

“The Christian view of the universe stresses two points of fundamental importance—its reality and its rationality, both stemming from who God is and the nature of his creative work.” p.346

“Serious attention to the Christian view shows its sensitive understanding of human aspirations—by virtue of their creation in the image of God—balanced by a realistic recognition of their alienation.” p.348

In conclusion, Guinness reflects on the failure of optimistic humanism and the counterculture,

“After the erosion of Christian culture, post-Christian people have turned from the truth of God. But they still twist uncomfortably, holding what they need of truth to be human beings while denying what they dislike of truth in favour of their own chosen premises. Some search for social justice but to their shame exchange the Galilean carpenter for the bourgeois scribbler in the British Museum. Some seek for escape from suffering but miss the Man of Sorrows and follow shadowy avatars to the Nirvanic no man’s land; others, looking for an exit from it all, miss the clarion call to freedom, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life” stumble along a road that leads nowhere, dusty with death. Often, the logic of modern premises is hellish. But then ultimately Hell is nothing less than the truth known too late.” p.358

“The sixties was supremely a generation of talkers an travelers. An epitaph for the counterculture might well read: When all is said and done, much more will have been said than done.” p.360

Another Way—the Third Way.

What is need is a Third Race,

“What is needed is nothing short of reformation and revival in the church, a rediscovery of the truth of God by his people and a renewal of the life of God within his people.” p.362

“The Christian life is not just difficult; it is impossible. But it is exactly here than humanism leaves off and the Christian faith begins. That is also why only this uniquely ‘impossible’ faith—with a God who is, with an incarnation what is earthy and historical, with a salvation that is at cross-purposes with human nature, with a resurrection that blasts apart the finality of death—is able to provide an alternative to the sifting, settling dust of death and through a new birth open the way to new life.” p.367

There is an offer of a Third Way which “holds the promise of realism without despair, involvement without frustration, hope without romanticism.” p.19

 Guinness calls prophetically for “a third way”. The basis and the subsequent life-style outworking of the Christian position is wholly different than the other two groupings (optimistic humanism and counterculture). With humanism floundering on the rocks of its own faulty basis and the counterculture suffering with severe loss of idealism. Christians at this point in history have a unique opportunity to step into the gap.

“Such a Third Way will not be easy. It will be lonely. Sometimes Christians must have the courage to stand with the Establishment, speaking boldly to the radicals and pointing out the destructive and counterproductive nature of their violence. At other times they will stand with cobelligerents with the radicals in their outrage and just demands for redress.” p.189

“The Christian stands back and affirms the higher way.” p.188

The third way is a clear call to radical Christian discipleship and the need for Christians to live out the reality of the Kingdom of God. It calls for Christians to develop a biblical world-view and to act into society rather than react as so often has been the case.

“Deep and long-lasting change is not brought about by revolution but by reconciliation and reconstruction.” p.191

PERSONAL RESPONSE

Os Guinness is a thinker.  His book causes you to think. He was really taken an era, a culture, and boiled down it’s fallacies. It is helpful to take a step back and consider the forest as Guinness does rather than continuing to smell the flowers.

The book helps you to grasp the thinking or mindset of a culture, a people who have forsaken God. It is as if you step into their mind and process decisions with them. This is  the cultural mindset I grew up in.

As I read through the book I felt a bit of shame and anger at the decisions my parents and grandparents generation had made. I realize they aren’t entirely to blame. They were following the course of their parents and grandparents too. However, the book wasn’t simply a critic of went wrong, it offers a hope to get right. The Third Way. This is the way I want to live which is really against the grain of culture, but that can bring a culture away from its inevitable demise or destruction. There is hope for light, rather than doom and gloom.

Conclusion

The Dust of Death is a well-written and weighty. One should read it several times to soak it in. A quick peek is not recommended. Guinness packs a massive amount of cultural information and philosophical critique in this work. Those with limited background in philosophy, culture analysis, and theology might find it boring and abstruse. But those who can appreciate philosophy and social analysis will benefit. One who wants to understand the impact of 1960s culture on the modern world-view should read this work.

The Dust of Death is a must read for anyone who wishes to be aware of what is happening around him and gives a basis for the church (i.e. the people of God) to be in the world what God has called them to be.  This book has great impact on those who serve in today’s world such as pastors, teachers, professors, leaders, and missionaries. The book helps you to know how to reach people birthed out of the sixties, a decade that still has rippled affects on today’s world.

Jesus offers rest to rebels

Western culture has made rebellion an “in” thing. Just listen for a few seconds to the news media talk about the nations leaders or watch how Hollywood portrays the bad guy as the likable hero. Rebellion isn’t just the product of the Roaring 20’s or Rockin’ 50’s and 60’s, but youth and adult alike from every generation are prone to private and public disrespect of authority.

Israel had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. Yet God did not forget them (Ex. 2:23ff). In fact, he showed them immense mercy by raising up Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt through extraordinary miracles. It didn’t take long for the people of Israel to forget all the miraculous things God had done to free them from the hardships in Egypt. You’d think after all they saw God do it would be enough to keep them on the straight and narrow, but within three days they were already complaining. Their hearts became hard. And for 40 years they wandered in the Wilderness until they reached the border of the Promised Land. Many, including Moses, did not enter “[God’s] rest” because of the people collective rebellion (vs.7-11, 16-19)

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” – Hebrews 3:7-19

When the author of Hebrews says, “Take care,” it is meant to be a warning to all generations who follow Jesus (v.12). Like Israel, we are prone to wander. Our hearts gravitate towards hardness and anti-authority. We are bent towards unbelief in God’s character and promises. No one is exempt.

At the heart of every problem is the problem in the heart. The heart grows hard. Yet there is a cure: a tender teachable heart. Intentionally surround yourself with brothers and sisters who will frequently challenge and correct your heart and be open to changing the attitude of your heart (vs.13-14; 10:23-25). If not we will fall into the same mindset as Pharaoh, who heard from God’s servant and saw many supernatural wonders, but rejected God flat out and became hardhearted.

A rebels heart is never at rest. Rest is found when you joyfully trust God, willingly submit yourself to the community of faith, and lovingly exhort one another. Enter his rest.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What is the meaning of “rest” (v.11)?
  • Why are people, even Jesus followers, prone to wander, hardheartedness, and bent on unbelief?
  • What leads to a hard heart? What are the dangers of developing a hard heart?
  • Why is the responsibility of all Christians to share the load in encouraging one another to have a tender and teachable heart?  Who do you allow to ask tough questions of your heart?
  • How can we exhort one another every day, stir one another in their faith and confidence, and share the load of helping one another not to be hardened by sin?

what authority does the church have?

“Today there rages an ongoing debate among Bible-believing Christians about the nature and necessity of the local church…One side has a tendency to emphasize the spiritual or universal church to the minimizing of the local church. The local church is something people can be committed to if they like, but they need not be. When those who hold this view commit to a local church, they often choose a church composed of people with like experiences and interests, affinity clusters based on common culture, age, and so on. Membership is already settled because every Christians is a member of the body of Christ. There are few if any further formal requirements, which are often seen as holdovers from a bygone era or borrowed from civic and social groups like Rotary and country clubs. Local church membership might even be viewed as divisive, contrary to a needed and good catholicity…On the other side are Christians who emphasize the visible, local nature of the church while minimizing the universal or spiritual church. Membership in the universal church is assumed, but must be demonstrated in the local church. Some add that New Testament Christianity makes little sense apart from an active practice of local church membership.” – Don’t Call It A Comeback, 201-202

How do we define church?

Some people think the church means building with a steeple, denomination with a super-structure, or gather of people who sing to God, give their money, and listen to a message from the Bible. Although these might be common definitions for church, this is not how the Bible describes the term church. The Bible says the church [Gk. ekklesia] means “gathering”. It is a gather of followers of Christ universally (Eph.1:22-33) and locally (Gal.1:2). The universal and local church are not incompatible enemies, but a glorious visions of Christ’s glory.

Do I really need to be a member of a local church?

The Bible clearly commands every believer to be intimately involved in the lives of other believers.  Heb. 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” God says that we are not to neglect to “meet together,” but He means far more than simply attending church services regularly.  The meaning of Heb. 10:24-25 is much fuller than that, as the other commands in the passage indicate.  If a believer is not carefully considering how he might stimulate others to love and good works, and encouraging others more and more all the time, then he or she is disobeying the Lord.  The church is intended to glorify Christ and to help believers be what God wants them to be. Christians are meant to live in community [1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12], not Lone Ranger individuality.

The local church is not one of many options for the Christian.  “The church is the primary instrument through which God accomplishes His plan in the world.  The church is God’s only ordained instrument for calling the lost to Himself and the means by which He sanctifies those who are born into His family (1 Pt.2:9-10).  Therefore, God expects (and even demands) commitment to a local church from every believer who claims to know Him.” (Wayne Mack and Dave Swavely, Life In the Father’s House, 6)

What’s in it for me?

In short, the church is not about me, it is all about Christ and the community, however the church bring nutrients to all its connected members. First, God designed the church to care for one other (1 Cor. 12:24-27). He uses local churches to look after His flock. Second, God designed the church to encourage maturity in one another (Eph. 4:11-16). Without the church followers of Christ would remain in spiritual infancy because they would have not structure for personal growth in Christ. As John Stott said, an “unchurched Christians” is a “grotesque anomaly.” The Bible describes a church as a Body with Christ as it’s head. A head without a body is a corpse. Dead and decaying. A church needs a head and a body to be a church. A Christian not connected to the body is not growing or gaining lasting nourishment. What’s in the church for me? Life and growth in Christ together with others committed to Him too.

By whose authority does the church have authority?

That which is given to it by Jesus Christ. He leads the church with humility and grace, but also in power and authority. Maybe you have seen the church abuse it’s authority. Maybe you’ve experienced neglect from church-goers. Maybe you’ve a pastor has not shepherded you with the attitude of Christ. Maybe you have lost respect for the church because of a bad experience? As messy as the church may be, it is still the beautiful bride of Jesus Christ. The church is not always amazing, but it is loved by Jesus. So much so that He died for it.

The Bible reveals the centrality of the church in the life of a believer. Jesus Christ proclaimed that He Himself would build His church (Matt. 16:18) and that not even the gates of death would prevail against it.  He invested it with the authority of His Father (Matt. 18:17-20).  He revealed that in His plan the world would be filled with churches (Matt. 28:18-20).  Furthermore, Jesus Christ died for the church (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25) and lives for the church.  He walks amid the churches (Rev. 1:13) and promises to keep the church from the future wrath of God (Rev. 3:10).  No other institution on earth can claim any of those things about itself. Christ is the authority of the church. Christ is the Creator (Ephesians 2:15), Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20, 21), Bridegroom (Ephesians 5:23-32), Head (Colossians 1:18a), Owner (Titus 2:14), High Priest (1 Peter 2:9), and the Shepherd (1 Peter 5:2-4) of the church.

the Word

Why has God placed His authority over us? God’s authority is like an umbrella that protects us. What is the umbrella? It is God’s Word, the Bible. The Word of God is His wisdom for us. Sometimes we just wish God would chisel His plans for us in stone, paint what He is up to in our life in the sky, or speak to us for real in a loud voice. What we often fail to realize is that He does, in God’s Word.

The Bible describes itself as God’s Word [over 4,000 times from Genesis to Revelation]. It is obviously God’s Word to you and me. Yet people have many views about the Bible. Here are a few false beliefs about the Bible:

First, some deny that God wrote a book. However, it is what it is. You cannot deny gravity as being true. It is what it is, and the Bible is what it is, the Word’s of God to us. Second, some distort the Bible to fit their personal opinions, false religions or make it mean something other than what God intended. Third, others dissect the Bible like a lab rat testing its validity against science, psychology, history and archeology. As history shows the Bible affirms science. Fourth, the most common view of the Bible is to disregard its authority in their life right now [i.e. obey your parents and employers, Eph.6:1ff; anger and adultery, Mt.5ff]. You cannot just pick and choose the verse you like and throw out hard passages you do not like. It is like tearing pages out of the Bible, you cannot do that without consequences. An incomplete Bible equals an incomplete life. So what is the right way to view the Bible?

The Bible is a Love Letter. It is what it is [Jer.31:3]. I remember when I was dating Sarah we would write letters to each other weekly and sometimes more. I craved getting letters from her. I would check the mail each week with enthusiasm waiting to read what her hand penned. When I would get a letter from her I would read them over and over, almost memorizing them. I could never get enough of Sarah’s love letters. Most of the time she would draw a picture and I would put them all over my bedroom. Once she includes a glamour shot that I would carry with me everywhere. Sarah did not have to write it in the sky or sound the air siren that she loved me. It was obvious. She told me. You know God has done the same for us. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Like a good love story is has a villain [Satan], hero [Christ] and clear message [Jesus saves]. The Bible shows God’s tender love and tough love at the same time. The Bible is tough because it reveals your true condition [sin/hell]. Sometimes we view the Bible like a pile of bills that cost us big bucks and if you don’t pay the creditor is hunting your head. Not true, it is a love letter.

The Bible is a Light. It is light a flashlight that helps us see the path before us [Ps.119:105; Prov.6:23]. Sin darkens our understanding, but God shows us the Light who is Christ [1 John 1:5-10]. The Word is like a lighthouse protecting you from the dangerous rocks that will ripped your life apart and send you sinking to the bottom. The authority of God’s Word protects us from a world of hurt.

The Bible is a Lunch. We must feed ourselves to a fill on the Word of God [Jer.15:16]. Eat this Book! The Bible is like a carbo-load that gives you energy to do as He says. How many meals do you eat a day? What if you did not eat? Not good. So it is when we neglect to dine on the Word of God.

The Bible is alive. This book is able to change a life and get to the deepest part of a person [Heb.4:12; 2 Tim.3:16-17]. Like a defibrillator the Bible is able to awaken your dead in sin soul and able to make you alive in Christ through faith in Him. By submitting to the authority of the Word of God we see that we have a great need that cannot be reached by my goodness, rather I have a great Savior.

How does the Bible come alive? Study it through. As you read it, it reads you. You see that you are a great sinner, but Jesus is a great Savior. If you are unsure where to start, begin with reading John or Romans. Pray it in. Ask God to help you understand, to be and do what you see and hear. Live it out. The Bible is not information, but it was written for your transformation.  We live it out, by obeying it. Pass it on. Show others that you are walking in the light as He is in the light. You might be the only Bible someone reads.

rebel without a cause

This week I have been watching the Olympics on TV. It is interesting to watch the Olympians take the podium with their bouquet and medal. What does copper, silver or gold look like before it becomes an Olympic medal? It is an ugly rock covered with mud. Before it becomes a beautiful medal you wear around your neck it must first become chiseled and purified. This is often how God uses authorities in your life. He puts parents, teachers, bosses, pastors, and authorities in your life to chisel and shape you into precious metals. You have to be willing to get under authorities in order for God to you them in our lives.

The Fall of Saul and Us All [1 Samuel 13:11-12] Saul was a bold, brunette and a beautiful man [i.e. the Brawny Man]. On the outside he was the man for the job. He was a tall, intimidating [6’6’’ to be exact], muscular warrior king of Israel. He was anointed by God to be the political, economic and spiritual leader of God’s chosen people. Though Saul was king he still had authorities to get under: God and Samuel [God’s spokesmen]. Every time the people were to go into battle Saul had to wait for Samuel to make a sacrifice to God.

One day Saul was camped at a place called Michmash. The Philistine enemies were pressing in and Saul was freaking out with fear. Saul sent for Samuel and was asked to wait seven days. After the seventh day Saul had a conniption and couldn’t wait any longer so he took matters into his own hands. He made the sacrifice himself. [Side note: going through the motions of worship never pay off spiritually] It wasn’t long after the smoke from the sacrifice cleared that Samuel showed up and asked Saul, “What have you done?”

“When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” [1 Samuel 13:11b-12].

Does this sound familiar? When I rebel against authority I usually rationalize by saying “I saw…I thought…I felt…” We are kings and queens of excuses: I saw someone else do it, I thought it wasn’t that bad of an idea, or I felt compelled even though it was not right. Despite Saul’s disobedience God gives him a second chance.

Can We Try this Again? [cf. 1 Samuel 15:1-19, 20-22] How do you think Saul responded? Did he learn his lesson? Saul was given one command: destroy everything. Samuel showed up after the battle and not everything was leveled. Saul gives an academy award winning response, but truly lame excuse [1 Sam.15:20-21]. Saul blames the soldiers, and then says he is going to give all the remaining stuff to God as an offering. Sounds admirable, eh? God is not impressed [1 Sam.15:22].

What are the Consequences of Rebellion? [1 Samuel 15:23] We take ourselves out from under the protection of God. The prophet of God Samuel says to Saul, “Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft.” [1 Samuel 15:23] What is witchcraft? It is the same as saying you putting yourself under the authority of Satan. Rebellion is having the spirit as the devil that allows him to rule our lives.

God works through authority. You are a link in God’s chain of command. God always works through authority. You have to find where you fit and place myself within that chain. If we take ourselves out of that chain we will never discover the greatness God has for us. Saul missed out on God using him personally and professionally.

What if my authorities are or ask me to do things that are illegal, immoral or unbiblical? This is a good question. What if some in authority over me are doing drugs, promoting sexual or verbal abuse, stealing money, lying to cover up, and more? I know what it is like to live daily under an authority that treats you unfair and is against you for no reason at all. In school, I had this teacher that hated me. She would send me to the principle just for smiling or raising my hand. This really tested my view of authority. Here is how God says to deal with authority:

1) Pray believing God can change hearts. You are accountable and responsible to obey God first and foremost [1 Peter 2:16-23]. 2) Confront in love and humility: Be like Samuel and call sin what it is [Matthew 18:15-20]. Humble and joyful submission to authority is a root to intimacy with God. Submission sounds like a dirty word, but when we submit to God it is the most delightful thing we can do. Submission to God is not easy, nor does it promise an easy life. Sometimes getting under authorities and obedience to God might require sacrifice, require you to surrender, and/or require you to suffer. The question is: will you allow God to use the authorities [even the bad one] in your life to chisel, mold and purify you as gold? [cf. Job 23:10]