My Way or No Way? Six Strategies to Eliminate Rebellion in Yourself and Others.

My Way Or No Way? Six Strategies to Eliminate Rebellion in Yourself and Others.

How do we eliminate rebellion? Address its two roots—pride and immaturity.

What makes us do the exact opposite of what we know is right?

  • Mr. Co-worker refuses to use the software his new manager recommended.
  • Sweet, little Susie Goodgirl grabs the cookie Mom said she couldn’t have. Then, lies to cover it up.
  • Neighbor continues to mow his lawn at 6 am every Saturday morning even though he has received several complaints and a written warning from the homeowner’s association.


It’s called rebellion—the need to have our own way, all the time. Unfortunately, we don’t grow out of rebellion. But, we can learn to submit to godly authority, follow guidelines we don’t agree with, and choose good over evil.  Without discipline, the teenager who refuses to do his chores becomes the young professional who says, “My new boss is an unqualified jerk and I’m not executing his stupid plan.”


God considers this rebellious, headstrong attitude a serious sin. Why? To us, rebellion may seem insignificant compared to violent, criminal acts like, murder, rape, and burglary. But in God’s eyes, rebellion is the initial willful decision to disobey. It is the self-determination to choose that which is evil.

1 Samuel 15:23, King James Version (KJV)

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”


God compares rebellion to witchcraft (the attempt to control and manipulate people for your own purposes) and stubbornness to iniquity (violating others) and idolatry (putting anything higher than God, including your feelings and desires). Rebellion cost King Saul his kingdom (1 Samuel 15:24-28). Because King Saul refused to obey God’s instructions, he appointed a new king to take his place—an unknown, but obedient shepherd boy called David.


Rebellion opens the door to more ungodly behavior. So, what does the fruit of rebellion look like?


2 Timothy 3:1-5, Living Bible

“You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.”


How do we eliminate rebellion? We have to address its two roots—pride and immaturity. The actions might look the same but the motivation behind the behavior is different.


People who are rebellious due to immaturity (like children) usually respond to training and consequences, even though it may make them angry initially.


  • Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
  • Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
  • Proverbs 23:13 – Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.


People who are rebellious due to pride do not respond to reasonable consequences. Punishment just makes them angrier and increases their rebellion. Instead of repenting, they revolt—they justify their behavior with lies and attempt to persuade others to join their side. Whether it’s an individual, organization or a nation, God deals with this type of pride through severe judgments.


A few biblical examples are:


  • Lucifer led a revolt against God in Heaven and convinced one third of all the angels to follow him (Ezekiel 28:16-17 and Revelation 12:1-10)—He never repented and was cast out of Heaven (along with all the angels who rebelled with him); and his name was changed to Satan.
  • Korah incited a rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-33) – He never repented and was swallowed alive by a sinkhole (along with all those who rebelled with him).
  • King Nebuchadnezzar was proud and refused to recognize God as the source of his great kingdom (Daniel 4:24-37). He did repent, but only after suffering for seven years from a humiliating, debilitating condition, called boanthropy, in which he thought he was an animal and lived like one!


But, we don’t have to be rebellious. We can choose our attitudes and behavior. The one person who can do whatever He wants is God. But, even God chooses to obey His Word. If God makes us a promise, he will not break it. If God who is all-powerful, all-knowing and everlasting can submit, then so can we.


Try these six strategies to eliminate rebellion in yourself and in those you are training:


  1. Focus on what you can do, instead of what is not allowed.
  2. Remind yourself of the rewards of good choices.
  3. Remind yourself of the consequences of bad decisions.
  4. Follow through on the rewards and the consequences. The effects of decision (good and bad) must be experienced.
  5. Pray to God. Ask the Lord to help you in moments of weakness and to give you the attitude of Christ, who was obedient unto death. (Philippians 2:5-9)
  6. Let mistakes strengthen your resolve (to do better). If you do disobey, repent. Ask God to forgive you and make better choices next time.


Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at


Valerie Morrow

Valerie Morrow was born-again at the tender age of 5, but has been chasing Jesus and the will of God seriously for about 10 years. She is well acquainted with the struggles and triumphs of Christian women. As a busy (we prefer the word productive) wife, mother, entrepreneur, leader, ministry student and writer, she focuses on being well-balanced, as a necessity in life. Valerie has been a waitress, a secretary, a receptionist, a marketing assistant, an account coordinator, an account manager, a marketing director, a business owner and the "candy lady." She has learned the meaning of being secure in Christ regardless of your position or function in life and loves to share her insights through devotionals, bible studies and "self- improvement" articles from a Biblical perspective. Valerie is the wife of Henry Morrow and the mother of two children. She is an active member of Victory Life Faith Center under the leadership of Pastor Lewis Brown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.