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Repentance for the deeper insubordination

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Anyone in a position of leadership experiences insubordination.  A parent hears it from children, a teacher from students, a supervisor from employees, and a shepherd from the sheep.  

Insubordination can be necessary when authority is abused.  Consider the actions of the mid-wives in Exodus 1:17 or the Apostles in Acts 5:29.  

Yet, most insubordination against authority is simply an extension of our cosmic insubordination against God.  We resist any intrusion on our prerogative to be the master of our lives.  All earthly authorities are a distant and very tainted echo of God's authority.  Furthermore, criticism is a reflection of pride; it's a way of saying, "I could do better."

Anyone in leadership eventually experiences a type of insubordination that especially bothersome.  It occurs when subordinates blame the person in authority for something out of the leader's control.  A family trip by car is delayed by traffic from bad weather.  The weather isn't in the parents' control,  but the children grumble against them.  The Chromebooks of a classroom fail to start.  The failure isn't the teachers fault but the students murmur against the teacher.  Distant economic factors cause a business to stall.  The employees blame the supervisors for mismanagement, but the economic realities are outside their control.

The question is really, "Who superintends all the events of our lives?"  When we're insubordinate against earthly authority in a matter that's beyond their control, then on a deeper level we're really grumbling against God.  This is precisely what we see in Exodus 16.  The people blame Moses and Aaron, yet Moses and Aaron correctly pinpoint that the people are criticizing the LORD.

Exodus 16:1-8 Israel set out from Elim . . . and the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."  . . .  So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, "For what are we, that you grumble against us? . . . the LORD has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him - what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD."

The next time you're tempted to complain against a person in authority ask yourself, "Can this leader really fix the problem?"  If it's outside their control, then you would be wise to hold your tongue because you'll be inadvertently chastising God.  

Furthermore, because God has already exhibited His love at Calvary, then we can trust that whatever disappointments, annoyances, or set backs that we experience are actually gifts of His love.  A mature faith sees all pleasures and disappointments equally as gifts of God's love.  A mature faith will even rise to worship and thank God for a sharp disappointments.

Posted by Matthew Roberts with

A reason to worship Jesus

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"One of the heavy costs of discipleship, I suspect, is not what my discipleship costs me, but what my discipleship (i.e. the discipleship that I’ve received) has cost others in the way of pain."

C. John Miller, The Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2004) p. 172.

A parent knows the painful toil of disciplining a wayward child.  It taxes the parents' time, emotional strength, and relational energy to form the child's character.  The child will flourish to the degree the parent is willing to suffer on their behalf.

The same principle applies in spiritual formation.  In order for a young believer to be fashioned after Jesus Christ, an older believer must walk alongside the younger one and provide training, correction, and at times a painful rebuke.  The younger believer will mature to the degree the older believer is willing to suffer for them.  

This principle is at work on an incalculable scale in the Gospel.  Jesus Christ is the true shepherd who lays down his life for His sheep.  He didn’t experience merely a tax on his time, emotional strength, and relational energy.  He incarnated in weakness, poverty, and ignominy.  He was condemned, spit upon, derided, and hung from a Roman gibbet. Far worse than this, He was severed from the Father.  He experienced the Father’s righteous indignation for our sin.  Yet, Jesus did it all gladly in love for us.

If you can see ways in which your parents suffered so that you could prosper, if you can see ways an older believer toiled so that you could mature, then know that those are small windows into the sufferings that Jesus Christ gladly experienced so that you could be forgiven, made righteous, and be received into His eternal kingdom.  My your heart warm to love Him.

Posted by Matthew Roberts with

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