rebelling against low expectations

What does an adult rebelutionary look like?


JESSE WRITES: We talk a lot about what it means for teenagers to rebel against low expectations, but what about adults? We’re bombarded with images of what the world says being an adult is and what should concern them, but what does God say? I think the world’s idea is wrong, so what is being an adult according to the Bible?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


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  • I’m only 17 and I’m still living under my parents’ roof. So while I’m on the edge of adulthood, I’m not fully there. So I’m not sure how adequate I am to answer this question; but here are a few thoughts:

    If you’ve read Do Hard Things, Alex and Brett talk about how the teenage years are years meant for us to learn how to become Godly adults. It’s a time for rebelling against the low expectations the world has created. And why should that change when we actually do become adults?? The world has low expectations for adulthood just as they do for the teenage years. And sadly, it seems like people behave a immature children a lot longer in modern times than they used to…People in their twenties are assumed to act just as people in their teens.

    What I’m saying is, we should rebel against low expectations as adults just the same as we should as teens; but perhaps in a different capacity. As teens, we stand up for what’s right in our schools. As adults, we stand up for what’s right in the workforce. As teens, we rebel against sleeping around with numerous boyfriends/girlfriends. As adults, we rebel against cheating on our spouse. As teens, we must obey our parents and perhaps teachers (if you’re not homsechooled). As adults we must obey our employer, our government, etc…These are just examples; but what I’m saying is, in heart and theory we should treat life the same whether we are 15 or 25 even though the scenarios, situations, expectaions, and temptations may vary slightly.

    As for what the Bible says, there aren’t specific verses in the Bible that talk about the difference between the “teenage years” and “adulthood” because the word “teen” didn’t exist. You were either a child or adult; so “teens” are something we’ve created… but it does talk about how we grow in wisdom with years. It talks about different roles: wife, husband, slave, master, etc. The Bible says we are to honor our authorities…The Bible in it’s entirety is our life “guide book”. So to tell you what the Bible says about adulthood: I’d just tell you to read your Bible. =) ;D

    Hope this helps! Sorry it was long.. =P

  • I think I know what you’re trying to ask. Let me know if I’m not understanding your question correctly.
    In this age, people our age equate being an adult with the freedom that comes with age. Most people’s image of being an adult is making their own choices and living life the way they want to live it, instead of being under their parents. I would suggest that’s a dangerous form of thinking, because we all know the bent of our hearts is away from God. I always laugh a little sadly at the way most people my age want to be out of the house, because they’re going to get a bucket of cold water in the face when they realize all the responsibilities they’ll have as adult.
    So what does it look like to be an adult Revolutionary? The social expectation for adults is to get a good job, climb the ladder at work, maybe get a wife or girlfriend, send your kids to college, and retire as soon as possible. This way of thinking really sets living for God on the back burner, while living for yourself takes top priority.
    Looking ahead to being an adult, my aim is not to earn as much money as possible but to serve God as much as I’m able. My life should be one of serving God and pouring out my resources for him, not selfishly pursuing temporal dreams.

  • “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4

  • The same things we strive for now.

    Romans 12:9:

    9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

    17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

    21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    • Right on! Can I get a copy of this… just joking… it’s in my Bible. I love Scripture post!

      Good reminder, Regan.

  • Well, the best answer I have is that a christian adult should fit the description of 1 Timothy 3 which speaks of the qualifications for leaders of the church. And then, as for their job and purpose, if they are single I’m assuming that their job is to be active in ministry, carrying out the work of the Lord, and if they are married, then they need to do that plus providing for/taking care of/leading their family.

  • Also, our true purpose is the same no matter who we are or what age we may be, and that is to give glory to God and enjoy all that he has made for us.

  • I’m turning 21 in a couple of months and have been thinking about this a lot.
    I’m actually in the process of writing a blog post about it. I first heard of
    the Rebelution when I was fifteen and it’s been close to my heart ever since.
    It’s a good question.

    Some of the things I’ve found along the way have been that many adults are as bad as teenagers (if not worse) when it comes to relationships and it’s hard for those of us who don’t want to be that way. Where I am, there’s also a heavy drinking culture. People go out binging at weekends and clubbing and things so again, those of us who don’t are strange. Honesty and hard work in your job is also not that common. I guess it’s a natural progression from your teenage years. You have to keep honouring God and keep rebelling against low expectations in whatever areas of life you find
    yourself in no matter your age.

  • My name is Darren and I’m sixteen. I’ve been reading your book and am encouraged by it. I come from a family of eight, were conservative, Love the Lord, and serve in the church. As I grow in the Lord and watch others around me, teen or adult, I see people with the power and ability to do things but with no be responsibility. My father and mother both have worked hard at teaching us to do the right thing, be responsible, and to think. Unfortunately, most teens and adults fail to be so and don’t live up to, or even try try, to be more like Christ. I appreciate all that is being done through the people that care enough to do something about it.

  • An “adult” rebelutionary looks just like a teenager rebelutionary… only older… and hopefully wiser.

    I’m only teasing… look at @reganseba:disqus’s post. She has an excellent answer.

      • Your welcome. I look forward to more well placed Bible quotes.

        So, what kind of things are you planning (working) on in order to share the gosple with the people in your area? Please don’t under estimate the value of just living a Christ centered life. True joy comes God, and the “pleasures” of this world are meaningless in comparison.

        • To be honest, I don’t really have any good ideas. My focus of late has been to strengthen my relationship with God- and believe me, it needs work- so that I can then help others. And to me living a life that reflects God is in and of itself a way of sharing the gospel, is it not? It’s true that joy comes from God, and I’m working on getting my relationship with Him to the point where I can feel that.

          What are you working on? Are you one of those people who has a wonderful gift of evangelism?

  • Being an adult is not a lot different to being a teenager. In your mind you still feel youthful. It’s just your body is different – it’s not as flexible, it has less stamina, and it takes longer to repair than it did when you were a teenager. Being an adult rebelutionary is not really different either. You still dream of doing hard things, like providing homes for the homeless in your community. And you desire to install the same ‘rebelutionary spirit’in your own children so you homeschool them if its practical. Your rebelutionary mindset doesn’t change. But usually you end up with a lot less time to yourself to muse when you’re an adult. You end up doing a lot for your kids, spouse and ageing parents and others.

    I think the biggest difference is, the types of hard things God challenges you to try change as an “adult” rebelutionary. One “hard” area God challenged us in early in our married lives was “to owe no man nothing”- and so we’ve never had a mortgage or a credit card our entire married lives. We built our first caravan-home using our savings and ‘sweat equity’ (i.e. DIY) , and lived in our caravan for years while we worked in a remote area. We kept living frugally until we’d saved enough money to buy our land outright,. Then we ownerbuilt a small home on that land without debt, and homeschooled. Most people don’t see a problem with having a mortgage but that was the direction God led us – i.e. French Mort (death) + gage (contract) i.e. a mortgage is a contract of debt until death.

    Because we were building without a home loan we had to live very frugally while we saved for building materials – and because of that we saw answers to prayer that we might not have seen if we’d chosen to get a mortgage e.g one time my husband and his mate prayed before they went fishing in the river behind us çoz we were short of food, and they caught over 100 fish – enough to stock up our freezer and enough to give away to other families who were doing it tough.

    Another time the kids were pleading me for Christmas decorations. If we’d had a credit card I probably would have gone out and bought them decorations (and put other things on the card as well). I felt sad that I couldn’t provide my kids what they wanted, but it was more of a yearning than a prayer. Anyway I had to go out and on the way home I noticed a box in the middle of the road – it hadn’t been there on the trip out so I stopped to see what was in it – it had 24 pieces of tinsel in it! (It was a dirt road – very few people travelled on it!) I remember feeling so overwhelmed by God’s goodness – and for weeks whenever I picked up a fragment of tinsel in our caravan it made me reflect on God’s goodness.

    When you do the hard things that God has challenged you to do, you give God room to reveal His nature. And you can draw from those moments for years. I think that’s why God challenges us all to do hard things.

  • I freaked out a little about this when I turned twenty. I wanted to be what an adult should be . . . whatever that actually was. But now I realize that there really, REALLY is no sudden change, no SNAP! and you’re grown up.

    There is no waking up and realizing that you’ve somehow “arrived” at your adulthood. Your childhood just grows farther and farther away. It’s the same slow and steady process we’ve been experiencing through our teen years, and we can either fight it, or embrace it, and make the most of it.

    Yes, there are times when I am more childish than at others. I can’t hate myself for that. It’s because I am still young! I won’t grow wise and mature in a day, and that’s okay. Really!

    I’ve been actually reverting to my childhood a bit lately, and think that’s because most of my teen years were spent with illness, depression and fatigue. I’m getting better, and consequently, getting some of my energy back, and I don’t know what to do with it all! Before, I thought I was more mature than most, but I was really just tired. Finding that out shook my self-respect at first, and aimed a blow at my pride. (Probably a good thing:)

    I feel like I’ve shed a couple of years, and it’s a good feeling! 🙂

  • Actually, you inspired me. Your question, “what are you working on right now to share the message of the gospel?” really hit me hard and bothered me for several days. I feel that God helped use you to show me a way that He wants me to start a ministry in my church- it is, actually, a knitting ministry(cause I knit like a crazy person). It’s not going yet, but I’ve really been learning a lot. So, thank you.

    • That is so encouraging to hear, and don’t give up your plan. Making that big step in self-discipline will be an essential for boosting your self confidence.

      You don’t have to be perfect at something to do it. When you need help (or mess up) be fast to admit it and seek support (especially from your family).

      I think, the biggest hindrance to me not writing my book is that I have very low self-confidence. Giving up just increases my low expectation of myself, and that’s not good. The finished result (whether or not it turns out like you wanted it to) will build your self-confidence, if you follow it to completion.

      Just like in exercise, your body is going to be screaming, “You can’t!,” but you can do it, and so can I.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →