Tested by Defiance

1 Samuel 17:24-25

Our enemies will defy us, and sometimes our friends will, too! Goliath defied the army of Israel – out of a proud and evil spirit. 1 Samuel 17:25 says, “So the men of Israel said, ‘Have you seen the man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel...’ ”

Defiance can be defined as everything from outright insubordination to passive lack of cooperation, from boldness in the face of evil to insolence toward servant leaders. The fruit doesn’t always indicate the root. There can be different causes for the same kind of behavior.

A wise leader discerns what type of defiance they are up against when people resist their leadership. There are emotional processes at work between people that can cause people to react to one another, like ice bergs colliding in the sea – the biggest issue is often what is unseen in the area of emotions and sensitive areas of ego and identity.

Sooner or later, you will meet a person who will defy you, or you may feel you must defy a person. The temptation is see defiance only as sinful rebellion, and not see more deeply what causes the rebellion, or what role we might play in provoking a person to rebellion and defiance. Most importantly, a discerning leader prayerfully discerns how God wants them to respond to the someone they see as defiant. Below are ten examples of ‘defiant’ behavior in the Scriptures, and ten different motivations for people’s defiance to leadership.

Ten kinds of defiance:

1. The Goliath defiance – deceived, evil defiance

2. The John Mark defiance – youthful, homesick defiance

3. The David defiance – sexual compromise defiance

4. The Absalom/Micah defiance – wounded child defiance

5. The Saul defiance – insecure leader defiance

6. The Jonathan defiance – wise leader defiance

7. The Bethsheba defiance – discerning spouse defiance

8. The Barnabas defiance – “stand up to a pushy leader” kind of defiance

9. The Apostles defiance – resisting ungodly leadership defiance

10. The Sloth’s defiance – the defiance of a lazy man