Rebellion vs. submission. Everyone makes a choice when responding to authority in their life. There’s really no middle ground. Either you’ll choose to submit to God and the authority established in your life, or you’ll rebel. No middle ground means that you can’t choose to submit in one authority area and rebel against another.

So, what does rebellion look like? Let’s begin with the definition. Watch the Facebook Live here.

Rebellion Vs. Submission


Merriam Webster online defines the verb rebel as to oppose or disobey one in authority or control, act or show opposition or disobedience, or feel or exhibit anger or revulsion. Synonyms of rebel include defiant, disobedient, incompliant, insubordinate, rebellious, ungovernable, unruly, wayward, and willful. Two more synonyms of the verb rebel are mutiny and revolt.


Submission is the act of yielding to the governance of authority. Some synonyms include obedience, surrender, acquiesce, compliance, consent, and pliability.

We live in a rebellious generation who feel it is their right to sit in judgment of those in authority over them. Christians are no exception. Rebellion against God-appointed leaders is the same as rebelling against the Lord and leads to nothing but trouble. As our commanding general, the Lord says, “Get into ranks and follow me. I will not lead you into temptation, and I will deliver you from evil.”

But we sometimes say, “No, I don’t want to follow today.” So we fall out of ranks, do our own thing, and get into trouble or hurt. Then we blame God for not protecting us. We are also tempted to rebel against human authority. We have two biblical responsibilities regarding authority figures: pray for them and submit to them.

The only time God permits us to disobey earthly leaders is when they require us to do something morally wrong before God. The Bible teaches of our responsibility to submit to the following leaders:

Being submissive to human authority demonstrates faith. As you submit to God’s line of authority, you choose to believe that God will protect you and bless you and that all will go well with you. Ask God to forgive you for those times you have not been submissive and declare your trust in God to work through His established authority lines.

So, how do we know if we are moving in rebellion in an area in our life? Here are fifteen characteristics to weigh.

15 Characteristics of a Rebellious Spirit

  1. You’d rather give orders than receive. If you don’t do well following instructions, you might have a rebellious heart.
  2. You might have a rebellious heart if you see instructions, rules, or guidelines as restrictions on your creativity or style and would much rather make up your own rules.
  3. If you feel the urge to do the opposite of what you’ve been told or asked to do.
  4. You always want to stand out, for better or for worse. Blending in does not appeal to you. Instead, you focus on being different and doing things differently than what everyone else considers normal or accepted. You thrive on being the “weird one” in the group because it sets you apart from the “normal people.”
  5. Believe it’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission. Rebels do what they want now and clean up afterward.
  6. You never seem to fit in. People with rebellious hearts seem to never click with a group. They’re usually the odd-man-out or stick out like a sore thumb and enjoy being the “misfit.” Many will refer to themselves as misfits or too weird for people. It comes back to the goal of being unique. There’s much more going on here, but rebellion is also at the root of this way of thinking.
  7. Rules are meant to be broken. Right? If you enjoy going against the grain and breaking established rules, you have rebellion in your heart.
  8. In children, rebellious hearts show up in obstinance. No amount of punishment or scolding decreases their behavior.
  9. You hate being restrained in any way.
  10. You dislike that people bow to authority so easily or accept the status quo without question.
  11. You radically accept yourself. You’ve said, “I am who I am.” People who want to be in a relationship with you have to deal with how you are or leave.
  12. Compromise is not in your vocabulary.
  13. Your presence is always a roar, and never a whisper.
  14. You live by your own set of rules.
  15. Apologize? Nope, not you!

Examples in the Bible

Saul and David are perfect examples of a rebellious heart and a submitted heart. Neither men were perfect. But what sets them apart is the posture of their heart. Saul’s heart was consistently rebellious, while David’s was consistently submitted.


When Saul was confronted with his sin, he explained and excused himself, revealing his disobedience and his mistrust in the Lord. He followed his whims rather than seeking the Lord’s guidance. Saul’s life tells us that rebellion is the result of pride.

Rebellion will move you from a place of blessing and safety to a place of danger and disaster.


However, when confronted with his sin (2 Samuel 12), David’s response was tender and responsive. He listened to the message from the Lord, confessed his sin, had a humble heart, and sought after righteousness.

Break Up with Your Rebellious Heart

Pray the following prayer aloud:

Dear Heavenly Father, You have said that rebellion is the same witchcraft, and insubordination is the same as injustice and worshipping idols (1 Samuel 15:23). I know that in my actions and attitudes, I have sinned against You with a rebellious heart.

I thank you for forgiving my rebellion, and I pray that by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, all-access into my life that’s been gained by unclean spirits because of my rebellion would be canceled.

I pray that You will shed light on all my ways, that I may know the full extent of my rebellion, and choose to adopt a submissive spirit and a servant’s heart. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

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