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  • Writer's pictureJack Selcher

The Story of Three Disobedient Children

The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove above stylized people

The Story of Three Disobedient Children begins with a mother in tears. She was embarrassed. She was discouraged. Her heart was broken. In the middle of a church worship service, her much bigger special needs son screamed out of control.

She tried to quiet him, but he fought back, hitting her several times. She decided to leave the service with him, but he didn’t cooperate.

Several men from the congregation moved in to help her, trying to reason with him. He hit them also. Finally, one of them applied a wrestling hold and little by little transported him out of the sanctuary amid many more of his screams.

It was a disruptive event in the service, but he was a special needs individual. The congregation understood and felt her pain. She had faithfully and lovingly cared for him his whole life, amid countless challenges.

He wasn’t responsible for his actions. But, when he went out of control, she could do nothing about it.

More than twenty years ago, John Piper, one of the dozen most famous pastors in the United States excommunicated his son Abraham from the church when the latter was 19. Abraham said he was no longer pretending that he was a Christian.

He was restored to the church four years later, but then again abandoned the faith. He has not returned to it.

In 2020, he began posting Tik Tok videos, some of which criticized his evangelical upbringing. For example, he said that fundamentalist Christians shouldn’t have children. He criticized them for encouraging their children to read the Bible.

He has more than 1.7 million followers on Tik Tok, more than his famous father. He is rebelling against God, justifying it, and influencing many others to replace God’s authority with their own.

Abraham isn’t a special needs son. He is responsible for his actions. His parents are heartbroken over his departure from the Christian faith. They can do nothing about it except pray.

The third disobedient child lives in each of us. The Bible describes it as the mind governed by the flesh (Romans 8:1–17 NIV). It wants its way in everything. We know that child as well as we know our name.

That child is hostile to God. He doesn’t yield to His ways. He can’t (Romans 8:7). He can’t please God (Romans 8:8). He swings at others when threatened. He resists God’s rule and living standards. He influences others to do the same.

He keeps God at arm’s length. Bitterly resents His authority. Manufactures the poisoned honey of envy, pride, self-righteousness, denial of any wrongdoing, resentment, irritability, anger, self-justification, and unbelief.1

We recognize his antics. If we allow it, he fractures our relationships. He reduces our lifespan. He keeps our focus on ourselves. He makes us small people no matter the size of the package. The good news of the gospel is that God can turn small people into giants of the faith.

As I write, life-restoring rain is greening the grass in my yard that was crisp and brown from a forty-plus day drought. Similarly, God has graciously supplied the rain of the Spirit to overcome the life-diminishing drought of a mind governed by the flesh.

“The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6 NIV). “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2 NIV).

We who belong to Christ are in the realm of the Spirit (Romans 8:9). The drought is forever behind us.

We must put to death envy, pride, self-righteousness, denial of any wrongdoing, resentment, irritability, anger, self-justification, and unbelief. We can do it (Philippians 4:13). The rain of God’s Spirit makes all the difference. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources

1. 10 Cravings of the Sinful Nature | Open the Bible

See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at

God has equipped and empowered me to write His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength. It’s a free devotional discipleship resource. Pastors have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead people to Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 1,933 people to date. I invite you to check it out.

Photo: Pentecost Holy Spirit Christianity - Free image on Pixabay - Pixabay

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