“You don’t want to get messed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel.” These are the words of Pee-wee Herman, spoken in his Oscar-worthy performance in the classic drama, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The line is funny because it drips with irony and is delivered dead-pan by the innocent man-child in the gray suit and bow tie. Though not intended as such, the line is also Truth.
We (Pee-wee included) are all rebels, and it starts from the day we are born. We come out of the womb crying, not out of empathy for our mother and the pain she just endured in giving birth but because we want our needs to be met.
This continues for years until we learn to mask our self-centerdness with superficial social skills. Though we try not to show it, we still believe we are the center of the universe. We believe, like Donald Miller who wrote in Blue Like Jazz, “Life was a story about me because I was in every scene. In fact, I was the only one in every scene.”
Our selfishness is rebellion toward God because it puts us and our desires before Him. And we are all guilty. We are all rebels, including Pee-wee.
Fortunately, we don’t have to stay that way. Jesus said, “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” (John 12:25). By dying to ourselves and surrendering to Jesus we take ourselves off the throne of our lives and put Jesus there, where He belongs. We denounce our rebellion and come into agreement with Jesus regarding His identity and lordship. We cease from being enemies of the kingdom of God and pledge our loyalty to King Jesus. It is only then, in response to Pee-wee’s famous rebel declaration, that we can say to him, “I know you are but what am I?” GS