Did you know it takes 60-70 flight hours, and an additional 140 hours of study, to earn a pilot’s license? After all the prep work, a would-be pilot must pass a medical exam, multiple-choice test, and a “checkride” with an FAA-approved examiner. But once a pilot gets to wear those wings, he’s earned the respect of all the school children, and most of the adults, he meets.
It tends to be pretty easy for us to respect people we think have earned it, but what about the people in authority over us who we don’t think deserve it? Or what if you don’t agree with the decisions your leader is making? To be respectful in those situations, you may find that you have to “Think a Little Higher” with your attitudes, actions, language, and tone of voice. Because respect is showing others they are important by what you say and do.
Similarly, 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 respecting 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).
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. 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. 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. But when we have the self-control to show respect with our actions and attitude, God is honored. 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. 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 cooperating with it. As we recognize that God already knows what we need, we approach Him with an attitude of respect. The Bottom Line is: What you think about God determines how to 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 will show others they are important because God has given them their authority.