Athlete, Here Are Respectable Wins
1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
LeBron James grabbed another chip. Four NBA titles are now his. This latest one came in the midst of much social upheaval and a pandemic health challenge. He said afterward, “Now I want my dxxx respect!”
How many titles do you have? How hard has your road been to get one? How much respect have you earned? How much are you due? God says that maybe it doesn’t matter. Something matters more.
When today’s Scripture was written 2,000 years ago, the world was in social upheaval and health care and life expectancy way worse than it is today. Religious persecution was brutal and political instability abounded. Racism and social injustice was endemic and systemic.
Into that world God introduced four great relational standards to shape their responses to others. He knew that if they followed His instruction, “chips” in life would somehow come their way. He would see to it. Respectable wins will follow us too, for God’s truths are timeless.
Let’s take a closer look at this Core Four of how to approach others and find wins.
SHOW PROPER RESPECT TO EVERYONE. If you want respect, show respect. First. And to everyone. Don’t limit respect-giving to just those who respect you.
Humble yourself and make respect-giving universal practice. And keep reminding yourself that all of us are made in God’s image, His likeness.
Living like this really sets one apart. And don’t be surprised at how much respect comes rolling back your way.
LOVE THE BROTHERHOOD OF BELIEVERS. Treat fellow believers like family. Extra special. All of them. All must feel special, regardless of country of origin, race, language, economic status, social customs, even political persuasions. It’s God’s special way of building and marketing His worldwide family (John 13:35).
Embrace the diversity that God’s family truly is intended to manifest. Stun the world and make it envy your “Fratelli Tutti” (Latin for “Brothers All”!). Treasure the story of this beautiful tapestry and love being part of the weaving (Revelation 7:9).
FEAR GOD. “Live as His servants” (1 Peter 2:16). Let your nobility come from whom you belong to, whom you serve, not your performance or your possessions. God gives us our ultimate respect and worth.
It can never consistently come from anywhere else, so stop trying to get it from the world. Bow the knee faithfully to the Most High God. Rightly fear Him. Whatever He says goes. “In Him we live and move and have our being … We are His offspring” (Acts 17:28).
HONOR THE KING. What a difficult challenge this is sometimes! Honoring a king, a ruler or an authority figure is not often easy. And our independent ways so lean us the other way.
Nonetheless, God says do it. He doesn’t give us an opt-out clause. He ordains authority in our lives. Honoring the king sets us apart from foolish men and their ignorant talk that often questions authority (1 Peter 2:15).
Think about what the world would be like if everyone practiced these four standards. Think about how much respect your life would garner if that became your faithful practice. Four really respectable wins await when we do.
Reflect: How robust is your respect-giving? Which of the four areas mentioned needs a boost in you? What respect-giving move might you need to make today?
A prayer to consider: LORD, I honor and worship You. You are worthy of my highest praise. I acknowledge that any of my self-promoting ways or demands for respect are foolish and vain.
Help me to show appropriate respect to everyone regardless of how tough it might be, to love all the brethren well, to properly fear You, and to honor each authority placed in my life. These are the respectable wins I long for.
Like Your Son. By Your Spirit. Amen.