God is our Father, the One who disciplines those He loves. (Hebrews 12:6)

So the fear we have for God keeps us in line, teaches us how better to live a godly life, and is the highest form of honor and respect.

(4) Honor the Emperor.

Well, we don’t have an emperor, although it may seem like it at times. But in context, Peter instructs us to honor our government. We are to follow the laws of our land, pay taxes, and respect governmental authority.

God wants godly behavior at all times, in all circumstances, and in all relationships. He wants His children to be well-behaved peacemakers who reflect His light in a dark world.

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17

July 12

Working for the Higher Purpose

even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 10:33

We come into the world wanting attention. “Hey, look at me. Look at what I have or what I can do.” But when we are born again, that focus changes, or it should. Instead of saying, “Look at me,” we should say, “Look at Him.”

If your life was an advertisement for Christ and His kingdom, how effective would it be?

Some people share their faith by handing out gospel tracts. Others carry a big Bible and preach in a public square. Some enlist in witnessing programs, like Evangelism Explosion. Then there’s the bring-a-friend-to-church method. Nothing wrong with these efforts at bringing the lost to Christ. But nothing represents Christ better than godly living and a sincere concern for others.

In the two previous devotions, I emphasized the importance of valuing others, placing them in high esteem, and giving them respect. That’s what Paul means when he says, “I try to please everyone in every way.” He lived a godly life around everyone, including prison guards. And he was motivated by a higher purpose, not for his benefit, but for the benefit of others.

He didn’t allow mistreatment, slights, or the offensive behavior of others to alter the way he treated them. Paul employed the hard teachings of scripture that call for loving your enemies, blessing those who persecute you, loving your neighbor as yourself, and forgiveness. He took the position, “If God loves me, after all I’ve done, then I can love you.” In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

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