Our God spoke into the darkness and created the entire universe. He is big enough to control the wind and the rain, yet able to meet the needs of the smallest sparrow. God knows all things and still desires to hear each of our prayers.
As we learn more about who God is and what He does, respect becomes a natural response to God’s character. But not only does God have all authority, according to the Bible, He also sets up governing authorities on earth. So showing respect to those in authority over us is an extension of showing respect to God.
This month’s memory verse is a quick and easy reminder of exactly that: “Show proper respect to everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17a, NIV) Proper respect acknowledges what is appropriate given the situation and position of the person. The person in authority over us was made by, is loved, and was placed in authority by God. We show them respect with our speech, actions, and attitude.
But what if we disagree with our authority? Sometimes respect means we won’t get our way or that our idea won’t win out. It might mean swallowing our pride in a very humbling moment. Or choosing our words very carefully when it would be easier to lash out or say something hurtful or defensive. When we stop and remember to respond with words and actions that show our authorities they are important, that they are made by God, and that God has given them their position, we show respect to our authority and to God.
In Week One, the faith of the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13) helps us recognize God’s ultimate authority. The centurion is a man who knows respect and demands it from the soldiers under his command. Yet, he humbly respects Jesus’ authority even though he isn’t even a Jew. He understands who is really in charge. Our Bottom Line is: Respect God because He’s in charge of everything.
In Week Two,we come to understand that God puts authorities in our lives to help protect and guide us, whether we agree with or even like them. Romans 13:1-5 teaches that God has established the governing authorities in our lives. When we respect them, we respect God. Our Bottom Line is: Respect God by respecting the people He’s put in charge.
In Week Three,when David spares Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24), he demonstrates that often those in authority haven’t earned our respect. When we have the self-control to show respect with our actions and attitude, God is honored. But respect doesn’t mean letting someone hurt you or others. David was smart to run away and get help. The Bottom Line is: Respect those in authority, even if they don’t deserve it.
In Week Four, we hear the contrast our words can create when we aren’t respectful (James 3:9-12). We’ll learn the importance of being consistently respectful with our speech. Respect or disrespect is obvious in our tone and the words we choose. In some cases, what we don’t say shows the most respect. So, our Bottom Line is: When you respect others with your words, you show respect to God.
In Week Five, The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-13) teaches us that when we pray we are discovering what God desires and then cooperating with it. As we recognize that God already knows what we need, we approach Him with an attitude of respect. Prayer is an important faith skill because it reminds us that we’re not in charge and that we need help. The Bottom Line is: What you think about God determines how you talk to Him.
Respect is truly a question of how we respond to our authorities. Will we assume that everyone has something they can teach us? Or will we stubbornly work to get our own way? When we choose to elevate our attitude and think a little higher, we show others they are important because God has given them their authority.
By Cara Martens. ©2012 Orange. All rights reserved. http://www.WhatIsOrange.org * All rights reserved. Used by permission