Let me be straight with you. You are all a bunch of rebels. That’s right. If you are reading this, chances are you live a totally rebellious lifestyle that is bent on rebellion.
Not exactly the kind of encouraging words you’d expect to read in 12-21 blog, right? Let me explain.
Sometimes I hear of teenagers in the Messianic movement who are wrestling with their faith and getting caught up in the ways of the world. They often fall into the temptations of secular society to the neglect of godly endeavors. Teens like that are referred to as “rebellious.” They are said to be rebelling against the ways of Messiah and the Torah.
I’ll be honest with you, I struggled as a teenager as well. I’ll be even more honest, I found the label of “rebel” kind of attractive. Many of us don’t want just to be going along with whatever everyone us tells us. We want to be independent thinkers, not conformists. We want to stand for something different. But I would argue that those who leave the faith, whether temporarily or permanently, aren’t as rebellious as you think. They aren’t the real rebels. You are.
Recently I was reading a book by a famous rabbi in Israel named Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo. While he is Orthodox, he’s known for thinking outside the box and getting people out of their comfort zone. He had this to say about the observance of the commandments of Torah in the modern world:
When we … eat kosher, [it] is an act of disobedience against a consumerism that encourages human beings to eat anything as long as it tastes good. When we go to synagogue, it is a protest against man’s arrogance in thinking that he can do it all by himself. When couples observe the laws of family purity, it is a rebellion against an obsession with sex. By celebrating Shabbat, we challenge our contemporary world that believes our happiness depends on how much we materially produce.
It is not the ones who leave faith who are rebellious but the ones who stick it out. We who live our lives in constant discipleship to Yeshua and who follow the commandments of the Torah are the real rebels. We are rebelling against the ways of this world. We are rejecting the norms and authority of this current age and instead living by the ideals of the kingdom of heaven. We are the ones taking a stand and refusing to be conformists.
We in Messianic Judaism are the real rebels, and we are part of a rebellious movement. May that spirit of rebellion against the world remain until the day Messiah returns and our rebellious behavior becomes the norm!