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How to Tame the Bucking Bronco of Rebellion

Harry Houdini climbed onto the horse’s back, hands tied securely behind him, feet firmly bound up with cord at the ankles, underneath the horse’s belly. Suddenly, a loud noise spooked the horse and, it began bucking. The pair took off at a gallop and Houdini couldn’t stop the horse and he couldn’t be thrown off of the horse. Since the horse was bucking so wildly, he was unable to free himself from the bands on his ankles and wrists. After the horse galloped a few miles, the animal was exhausted and finally stopped. Houdini was able to loosen the knots, remove the bands, and free himself. He completed his escape. Because of this dangerous lesson, Harry Houdini learned the value of planning ahead and practicing every act before he performed it.[i]

Spiritually, you and I may inadvertently bind ourselves up with a rebellious attitude, which is contrary to Scripture but culturally acceptable. It’s important to see what God says about how rebellion is a subtle way the enemy can warp us into thinking we don’t need to obey leaders in our civil government, in our churches, in our families (husband or wife), or God. Proverbs 12:8 reminds us, “A man is praised according to his wisdom, but men with warped minds are despised.”

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words[ii] defines the word submit as, “to yield.” James 4:7 explains, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” In this passage, James gives us insight into how to cut the cords of deception that are keeping us tied up as we “out truth” our defeated enemy. We can overcome when we gladly submit or respectfully yield to God’s will. That’s what ushers in His power. As we surrender to God’s authority and His will, we commit our life to Him and His control. Voluntarily, we can make the choice to follow Him. I’ve found peace in learning how to pray against a rebellious spirit. I’m teaching myself to pray, “Lord, show me any area I’ve been deceived.” I am praying this prayer for you now.

We can refuse to go along with Satan’s plan. We can decline his offer and reject the temptation. As we give God control, the Holy Spirit has permission to respond, and we can draw nearer to God. He helps us step over the trap the enemy has laid for us and we can victoriously avoid being entangled. As long as you are submitting to God when you resist the devil, he has no choice but to flee. This applies to every Christian no matter how weak or frail they feel, or how long or how short of time they have been a Christian. However, even though Satan is defeated, he still “prowls around, like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 4:8) Every believer has the same authority and power in Christ over the spiritual world.[iii]

I can only think of a few things scarier than being on the back of a run-away bucking bronco with my wrists and ankles tied up. We can enjoy the abundant life we’ve been given, as we are reminded in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steak and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” It’s liberating to invite Christ to control us by submitting to His will. We don’t have to stay helplessly ensnared any longer with our wrists and ankles bound up with lies, and on the back of the runaway bucking bronco of rebellion. And we can revel in the fullness of God we have received. “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” (John 1:16) And this, dear one, is the only way to live. [iv]
This blog appeared on Lead Like Jesus site in October 2023

[i] Laurie Carlson, Harry Houdini for Kids: His Life and Adventures with 21 Magic Tricks and Illusions, Chicago Review Press, Chicago, IL, pg. 37

[ii] Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words 1 Strong’s Number: G5226

[iii] The Freedom In Christ Discipleship Course, Neil T. Anderson and Steve Goss, Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN 2017 pg. 86

[iv] Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner, Unraveling the Lie-Knot: Finding Freedom From the Tangles of Discouragement, Deception, and Depression, Freedom In Christ International Publishing, Reading, UK, 2021, pgs 167-188