Friday, 4 February 2022

Respect is Earned

 Scripture:  Genesis 4 v 3 - 5: "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 

4  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 
5  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."

Our God says that He is no respecter of persons, that does not mean that He disrespected everyone, it means that  He considers us all equally.  However He had respect to Abel over Cain, and for Jacob over Esau.  Cain ended up murdering his brother Abel, and fleeing to other lands.  Jacob went away to find his wife and Esau went to Edom.

Whether you are an astronaut, a celebrity, royalty, a professor, billionaire or pauper, healthy or sick, married or single, God does not measure you by your class or status or ability.  He looks on your heart to see if it is in harmony with His.  His judgment is based on your knowledge of Him.  And especially your knowledge of Jesus.  He also saw what was in the heart of Cain and Esau, envy and greed.

Philippians 2 v 5 - 9: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 
9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:"

Paul also says we must esteem others more highly than ourselves.  This is true humility.  Jesus could have announced His value and importance and made demands but He became our servant, washing the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper.  He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and rebuked the Pharisees.  Jesus was the most humble man who ever lived.

We earn His respect by loving one another the way He loves us.  He does not see us as anything but identical.  There is no Jew nor Greek, no black nor white people, no rich nor poor, no male nor female, we are all equal in His eyes and none are more equal than others.

Galatians 3 v 27 - 29: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Those who have class, status and superiority despise the lower classes no matter what colour, race or religion they are.  So in Christ all class status is wiped out.  Philemon v 16 - 18: "Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
17  If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
18  If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;"  

This is all about Onesimus, who was a slave of Philemon, who ran away from his master and got born again through Paul.  Paul writes to Philemon to request that his slave status removed and that Onesimus would be received as a brother.  If there are people who work for you, Christians, do you treat them as slaves or fellow-believers?  The way we treat one another shows how we really treat Jesus.

God does not bother with our nations or flags or gold Olympic medals.  Our sports trophies, university degrees or any other achievements do not interest Him.  He pays attention when we are obedient, kind, well-mannered, caring, generous, under self-control, patient, praying, Christians.  If we want His respect, we must earn it.

If we don't respect ourselves, we will not respect others, nor respect their property, nor their reputation.  Gossiping and demeaning people, even in jest, is gross disrespect.  Abuse of any kind is terrible disrespect.

So it is important to be on time, have good manners,
dressed appropriately, and be of a quiet and meek nature.  Then we will treat everyone who is born again with proper respect and receive the same respect because we earned it.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, through many influences and life experiences we have standards and expectations of proper acknowledgment of our status in life.  The truth is that we need to change into the likeness of Jesus who ministered to lepers, beggars and rich people every day.  He only rebuked the hypocrites.  Help us to be like Him. In Jesus' name.  Amen.