Flashing neon signs. We’ve likely all said we wished God would give us one so that we would know what to do. Well, through the pen of Peter, God has given us one!
Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:17)
Maybe it’s not fancy or flashing, but it’s clear and concise! A part of God’s will for His children is that we show proper respect to EVERYone. The wording Peter chose gives us a better understanding of what God intended. We’re to respect everyone because we see them as personally valuable. Why? Because each person has value in the eyes of God. It reads simply, but this is tough because the command is toward ALL people – not just those we love, agree with, etc. All means all…ouch.
The next bulb in the neon sign is to love the church. This sounds a bit easier – at least the objects of our devotion are fewer in number and share our faith. But the love (agape) required here refers to preferring others ahead of ourselves. We give to others without regard to ourselves.
Bulb #3 is to fear God – this is not a command to frightfully flee from Him, but to reverentially obey Him. To surrender our will to His – because without this type of fear for God, we won’t respect everyone, love the church, or honor our leaders.
Speaking of which, the last bulb in this particular sign deals with our relationship with authority. The word for honor is very closely related to the one for respect above, but adds an element of submission and obedience. It’s the same word used throughout the New Testament when children are told to honor their parents; i.e., submit and obey.
Respect everyone. Love the church. Fear God. Honor authority. How are you doing? Which represents the biggest challenge? Why? –Dave
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