Rebellion in the System

Most families today have rebellion built into their daily life and operation. Most families have rebellion in their system. That means rebellion is a way of life for most people. And that’s serious!

Hierarchy of Authority

Authority must be conferred. It comes to us from those who have responsibility over us. We can only have authority by being under authority. Yet we need authority in order to be anything other than a pawn in someone else’s game.

The Bible reveals the hierarchy of authority which God operates by and which is the only legitimate authority structure for our lives. That hierarchy has God at the top, Christ under God (even though He is equal with God in nature), Man under Christ, the Wife under her Husband (even though she is equal with her husband in nature), and Children under their parents (even though they are equal with them in nature).

Rebellion Curses Us

Acts of rebellion take us out from the place of care and protection which God created for us. We are exposed to all the evil attacks of the enemy. We violate our right to protection by our rebellion against God.

Rebellion has the same effect on us as witchcraft has. Just as witchcraft brings us under the evil work of Satan, so too does our rebellion against God and all those He places over us.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” 1Samuel 15:23a

Everyday Rebellion

Submission to those in rightful authority over us, in God’s hierarchy, is extremely important to us. So we should not think light of it, yet we do!

Most parents tolerate high levels of what I call “everyday rebellion“. Husbands and wives take it for granted that they will live with a high level of “everyday rebellion”. Parents take it for granted that “everyday rebellion” is a normal part of life.

Rebellion is not something that we should see as ‘normal’, nor should it be part of our everyday life. There should be no rebellion in the system of our home and family processes.

Tolerating Rebellion

It is common for mums to let their baby dictate to them. Babies are allowed to dictate when they will sleep, what they will eat and what they want when they want it.

When the mum needs the baby to comply with the mother’s wishes and needs, a baby or child can refuse to cooperate and put added stress upon the mother and her challenges. This is taken for granted in many homes. It is not always just that the baby is not hungry or is overly tired. It is often that the baby or child is pressing his or her will in opposition to the mother’s will. It is rebellion, even at such a tender age.

It is also common for western wives to contend with their husband. Many wives stand up to their husband, belittle the husband, contend with the husband in front of the family, and insist that their own will be followed over the husband’s will.

When a wife stands up to her husband she is violating the place of authority given by God to her husband. Therefore she is violating God’s authority, since He authorised the husband’s place.

All Rebellion is Against God

It is foolish to think you are rebelling against a person.

A child might think, “If I had a better dad I’d submit to him”. A wife might think, “It I had a better husband I would submit to him”.

Those thoughts are misdirected. When the child rebels against his or her parents that child is refusing to obey God. Their rebellion is not against a person, but ultimately against God.

All rebellion against God-appointed authorities is rebellion against God.

Rebellion and Abdication

What is happening in western homes today is a combination of rebellion from the subordinate and abdication from the person with authority. The evidence that we have rebellion in the very system of our lives is that both those with authority and those who should be under authority agree to cooperate in rejecting God’s authority hierarchy.

Western homes destroy their effective function by subverting what God gave them – His hierarchy of authority by which things work with His blessing.

Inability to Submit to God

Westerners are in a situation where they cannot truly submit to God, because rebellion and abdication rule their hearts and their culture.

Westerners cannot raise a different kind of generation because children are born under the perverse spirit of rebellion against authority.

Westerners instinctively look for ways to dispose of and nullify those over them. This is just normal business for people today, because they have never learned to willingly yield themselves in faithful submission to God, by happy and complete submission to those He has placed over them.

When children disobey their parents and wives stand up to their husbands they are simply giving to their parents and husbands what those people have earned for themselves by having violated authority in their own lives previously.

This is rebellion built into our whole operational system.

Its result is that people don’t really try to submit to God, but just recruit Him to their assistance for the things they need.

Children and Wives Ruling

The curse of children ruling their parents and wives ruling their husbands is evidence that God’s hierarchy of authority has been violated. It is violated by people who have wanted to be master of their own lives and therefore rebelled against those in authority over them. Therefore they have rebelled against God and lost His protection. God has given them over to the curse of Rebellion in the System.

“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes will rule over them.” Isaiah 3:4

“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.” Isaiah 3:12

Clean Up Time

When we violate God’s authority hierarchy there is Rebellion in the System. The only way out is through repentance. We must ask God to forgive us for rebelling against Him by not valuing what He has given us. Ask God to forgive you for resisting your parents. Wives, ask God to forgive you for resisting your husband’s authority.

We need to repent as a culture from the wholesale despisement of those in authority and how we all look for ways to remain free from the imposition of authority over us. Let us clean up our own hearts and families and then pray for our culture. Let’s get rid of rebellion in the system.

Wives Walking in Authority

I recently counselled a single mother about the authority she was able to operate in within her own home. She had been uncertain (double-minded) about how much authority she had and what she would be able to do in leading her home, since that role is set aside for the husband.

In order to clarify her situation I reviewed God’s authority structure with her, then pointed out how she fits in to that structure, as an abandoned wife raising her children. For the benefit of others in a similar situation I am sharing my instruction here. I trust it is helpful.

Authority Out of Order

When we do not live in the authority God has given us we are easily overcome or at least sidetracked by obstacles and challenges. We can even be made to feel out of order if we are too confident or assertive about what we believe and what authority we have. When we face constant opposition we can weaken and compromise our authority, giving up the rights God has given us. Many mums can find themselves in such a place, especially if they are challenged by their children who resist their authority. Some mothers give up their claim to responsibility and relegate themselves to the caring domestic servant, unable to speak into the lives of their children.

God’s Authority Principles

God has created authority principles which we are to live in. We need to be single-minded about where we stand and what God requires of us.

There are two principal places of authority revealed to us in God’s word. These are not the only places where authority operates, but they are key places, as revealed in 1Corinthians 11:3.

“But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1Corinthians 11:3

God’s authority hierarchy, then, is first God, then Christ, then the husband and next his wife. We know that the children come under the authority of both the father and mother, from the commandment to “honour your father AND your mother” (Exodus 20:12). I the husband has abandoned the home that may tend to undermine people’s respect for the wife and even her own self-esteem. But God does not have a separate authority structure in that case, where the children can live as they please or boss their mother around. The mother remains a head over her children, whether she has a husband or not.

Two Key Places of Authority – Heaven and Home

The 1Corinthians text shows that the two principal places of authority are God’s Throne in Heaven and the Domestic Home. Note that the King’s throne is not in the list, nor the Houses of Parliament. Priests and power-brokers do not end up on that summary of divine authority. God and Christ have their seat of authority in heaven and the husband and wife have their seat of authority at the dinner table (so to speak).

All other expressions of authority must be either put in place by the will of God or by the will of the people. If not, then those other contenders for rule do not have true authority. No other authority can violate or overrule each person’s authority to stand before God’s throne or to take their place of godly authority in their home.

For people to properly operate in the authority given them by God they need to be sure that they have first set themselves right in the two principal places of authority. They must be bowing the knee to God’s authority, doing what He wants them to do, since God’s throne is the source of all authority.

Then they must properly exercise authority in their home. If they are under authority, as a wife or child is in a home, then they must not violate that. If they are a husband then they must not have abdicated or abused their domestic authority. If people fail to be under God’s authority in heaven and the authority which God has placed in their home, then they are out of order and are disqualified for any other authority.

Widows and Abandoned Wives

Now, here is a special word for widows and abandoned wives. The husband is the head of the domestic home, under Christ. However, if the husband has abandoned his post or has died, the responsibility for domestic authority falls to the wife.

An abandoned wife or widow can exercise the same authority in the home as her husband would otherwise have done. Her two authority challenges are to be under God’s authority, obeying all that God requires of her from heaven, then standing firm in those things that she believes are important for her family.

Her authority in the home is thus firm. She can stand in it and rule the home as God directs her, without fear of censure and without regard to the opinions of others.

Resisting Invalid Voices

Well meaning or just domineering people can take it on themselves to push their way into a home and start giving orders. They may think they are doing the wife a favour by filling the void left by her husband. However, those voices, whether well meaning or wrongly motivated, are invalid. They do not have the right to speak with divine authority into the home.

Suggestions, encouragements, advice and godly counsel can be helpful, but when an advisor asserts their advice as an imperative in the home, they are outside their jurisdiction.

Wives who must lead their home can choose whatever support and counsel they see fit. There is safety in counsel from a wide range of people. A wise wife will seek out godly advice and prayerfully weigh up the counsel given, since she is responsible for the outcome of her decisions.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

Wives have God’s authority to resist invalid voices which try to speak assertively and dictatorially into the home. They also have God’s authority to stand firm in the face of their own child’s defiance or contentions.

A Prayer for Single Mums

“Lord God, I present before you the single mums who are reading this article. I ask You to place Your hand upon them and lead them to Your wisdom for their situation. I pray that You protect them from the evil one and from the weaknesses and folly that may be a part of their life. Deliver them and their children from evil, lead them in Your righteous paths, and keep them in places of blessing and protection. Encourage each mother to rise to the place of full exercise of their divine authority under You. Give them fearlessness in standing up for righteousness. Give them boldness to lead their homes as You direct. Pour out Your love and grace upon them and their children. Be a husband to the widow and the abandoned wife and be a Father to the fatherless and abandoned children. I ask this in Jesus’ powerful and lovely name. Amen.”

Government of God Expanded

God’s government over the lives of men is a key truth which will help us navigate through the confusion and competing claims for the hearts and minds of men. Yet that government is not readily understood and so I continue here a ramble through some of the elements of that government.

God is in Control

Deists think of God as a dispassionate and disengaged deity who initiated life but will not interfere with human existence. I am a theist. I believe that God is, as the Bible teaches, actively engaged in the issues of each of our lives.

The Bible reveals that God is in control of all that impacts us and has the power to totally transform or destroy our lives. He responds to our hearts and our prayers, giving us what is appropriate based on our walk with Him.

God is not only in control in the form of an external and interested personality able to impact our lives, but He is also in control via His prescribed order, which He has designed and instigated because it is the functionally effective form of government.

So, both by His sovereign power to intervene and by His prescribed order for mankind we have what I refer to as the Government of God.

Divine Hierarchy

Part of God’s prescription for human government is the hierarchical authority structure He prescribed for our good. God has set in place an order of governmental authority in the form of hierarchical authorities who exercise authority by being under the authority above them.

This divine hierarchy is explained by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth. In 1Corinthians 11:3 Paul points out that God is the ultimate authority figure, with Christ under Him. Man is under Christ and the wife is under the authority of her husband.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Apostle Paul, 1Corinthians 11:3

Insights from God’s Hierarchy

This hierarchy reveals that God endorses and prescribes structural authority. People are not to be a law unto themselves but are to be under authority. But the authority over them is also to be under authority.

The only ultimate source of authority is God. Despotic leaders, corrupt administrators and evil parents are out of step with God’s authority structure, since they are not acting according to the will of God. Those expressions of government, global or domestic, are outside of or in violation of the Government of God, because they have refused to come under God’s authority.

God’s government of mankind not only has God as the supreme authority but it also has the home as the prime component. Every individual home is a direct expression of the government of God. The hierarchy in 1Corinthians 11:3 does not mention any form of civil government, but it leaps straight from heaven to the home. God’s concern for the government of human life is a combination of the divine and the domestic.

Two Important Thrones of Government

A person who wishes to exercise government over the affairs of this world has two important arenas in which to operate. There are two thrones of authority magnified in God’s authority hierarchy (1Corinthians 11:3).

God’s throne in Heaven is the ultimate place of authority. Anyone who wishes to exercise any role within human government must bow the knee to God and Jesus Christ. All other authority springs from them. Anyone who wishes to exercise authority independent of God and Christ must engage in borrowed authority or exercise illegitimate authority over people.

The dinner table is the place of that other throne. The domestic home, under the headship of the father in the family, is the other central place of authority. Anyone who wishes to exercise authority over the affairs of men must be sure to find their place in the domestic home, either in submission or through appropriate carriage of their responsibility.

That is not to say that every husband can rule his home as he chooses. That man only has authority in his home because he is under God’s authority.

A man who will not exercise godly authority in his home, being personally under God’s rule, is disqualified from leadership. He has rejected the government of God. A woman who refuses the authority of her husband is disqualified from leadership. She has rejected the government of God.

Civil Government

The absence of reference to civil government in God’s authority hierarchy is not a mistake. Civil government is a servant to God and man. When civil government interposes itself over the lives of people, without full divine authority to do so, it is evil government.

Civil government is described as government which rewards the good and punishes evil people. When civil government functions as an expression of God’s father heart toward humanity and God’s holiness upheld by man, then it is good government and part of the government of God.

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or to governors, as to them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” The Apostle Peter 1Peter 2:13,14

Civil government is also a servant to the man as he leads him family. Good civil government will support the authority of the father in each family, as the head of his home. It will support that man and provide the resources which God the Father would give to His children to empower them to build strong families.

Kings or Consensus?

Civil government can be exercised by monarchs on a throne or elected representatives in a council, or by village elders and other expressions of administration. When that civil government (no matter how it is structured) functions in support of God’s throne and the domestic family it is a good government, whether it comes from the king and his minions or by social structures with elected officials.

Much discussion is made regarding the relative merits or evils of monarchs, dictators, village elders or democratically elected governments. If the Government of God is in place then the distinctions betweens there structural systems becomes less significant.

Ruling the Human Heart

Note that God’s authority is not expressed in the form of instant judgement. Lightning does not strike every blasphemer on the spot. Adulterers, thieves, liars and murderers are not immediately condemned by God.

Human government often seems much more responsive in dealing with evil than God appears to be. This is because God has assigned humanity the task of administering this expression of His government. It is also because God speaks into human lives via the human conscience.

Conscience

Human conscience is an expression of God’s government over the individual. Our heart condemns or approves our actions and thoughts. And so this will be an area of investigation in a follow up posting on the Government of God.

Staying Under Command

Westerners have little grip on authority. Most westerners don’t have authority, because they are not under authority. Most westerners have violated their right to rule by refusing to be ruled. Of course they are ruled, or indeed dominated, but their spirit is one of insubordination and independence. So they have lost the right to rule.

This is profoundly significant for the menfolk of the west. They are the ones who are supposed to lead, as the head of their home. Yet they cannot take that lead, since they know nothing of true headship and authority. Their challenge is to stay under command.

I want to help you learn how to do that, so here’s an analogy I recently used to illustrate this principle.

The Chain of Command

Before we dig into my illustration let me remind you how God has set up the command structure. God has created an hierarchical authority structure for us to operate within. God is the head of that structure. The next in command is Christ. So God, as Almighty God and as the Son of God, Jesus Christ, occupies the two top positions in the hierarchy. Husbands are given a place of authority directly under Christ. Wives are given a place directly under their husband.

Husbands, then, have a pretty awesome place of authority. They are directly answerable to Jesus Christ. Imagine being directly answerable to the Prime Minister or President of your country. That’s the place of authority husbands have in God’s scheme of things. That’s a pretty elevated place of responsibility and authority.

Abusing the Boss

Imagine being directly answerable to the leader of your nation, and then taking orders from someone else. When you begin taking orders from someone other than your boss you are abusing the boss. You mock the authority of the boss because you do not revere and respect it. You stop being under that authority and so negate the delegated authority given to you.

Every time you let someone change the orders your boss gave you the effect is that of mocking your boss and demeaning the boss’s authority. What does it say about your boss, when you let some person off the street tell you what to do? You are lowering the authority of the boss to being no more significant than that of a stranger or some person with no authority.

Stay Under Command

The most important thing for a person to do is to stay under command. This is especially so if you have been given the privilege of direct access to someone of high authority. You certainly would not want to violate that authority and lose your place under it. You want to remain in direct line of command from the highest officer possible.

To do that you must honour your boss. You must be diligent to faithfully fulfil the wishes and instructions of the boss, so he is pleased with you and retains you in the position of authority he has assigned you.

This is equally as important for husbands as the head of their home. If a man disregards the lordship of God and Christ in his life he loses the effective authority that has been delegated to him. He ends up with a wife and children who have no regard for his leadership and headship, since he has no regard for Christ’s headship over him.

The Challenge

Many men are already starting from a lost position. They have to regain their authority in a context where their wife rules them and their children ignore them. This is a pretty hefty challenge, but it is one that can be met. God is the one who assigned men their authority and so when men move into it they do have God’s backing.

The question I get asked from time to time is about actually activating that authority, especially in a context where it has never been exercised before. That is where this Soldier analogy came from. I hope you find it helpful.

Soldier to Soldier

Imagine two platoons of soldiers from different armies working together in a battle zone against a common enemy. Each group is kitted out with their issue of uniform and equipment. The soldiers from the two armies mix together, but are under the direct command of their platoon leader.

A soldier from one army advises a soldier from the other nation that the way he carries his ammunition belt is not right. One army wears the belt around the waste and the other slings it over the shoulder. The solder being told what to do by the other soldier has to decide what to do.

He can take the advice of the other soldier. If he does so, he is stepping outside the instructions given him by his own army command. The kit which he is issued and trained to use is to be utilised as instructed. If he rejects his own command he makes himself subservient to a mere soldier from a different nation. He is acting outside his chain of command.

However, the suggestion may be a good one. So, could he not follow the instruction if it strikes him as a good idea? The answer is, No! He must operate within the chain of command and stay under the authority of his commanding officer.

What to Do?

What he can do is go to his commanding officer and ask for permission to wear his kit in a different manner to what is prescribed. The commanding officer may happily give him leave to do so. It may not be a significant matter. The officer may allow the soldier to do what he thinks best. Or there may be good reason why the prescribed wearing of the kit has to be maintained.

By respecting the command of his own platoon leaders the soldier is staying in a place of authority. That authority protects him and also empowers him with delegated authority.

The Point

The point of this illustration is to convey the concept of authority to people who have little practical experience in living under God’s authority. The next issue is how to practically apply authority and headship into a home where it has been absent. I’ll tackle that question in a future post about Regaining Domestic Authority.