Monday, October 27, 2008

Being Respected

There is a great responsibility that goes along with declaring we are Followers of Christ. It puts us under the microscope and either validates or refutes the message we love we have received for God. This is why it is very important that we are intentional in the way we live. Consider what the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:20; as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (ESV).

Paul tells us that we have to be concerned about our image as well as the message we offer through the way we live. The perceptions of other people matter. Sure we cannot ultimately control how other people view us, but there are steps we can take to put our best foot forward.

First we have to be concerned about not doing anything that causes us shame. The apostle Paul was concerned about this. He was public figure and people knew what he stood for, and so Paul wanted to make sure he didn't do anything that would cause him shame (which would bring shame to Jesus as well) and lose the respect of people. We need to be conscious about the words we use and the things we do. Remember we might not think doing this or that is a big deal, but by our participation in it might cause others to lose respect for us.

Second we have to have a code of ethic to live by. If we don't have standards (a code of ethic) then we will find ourselves in a position where we get caught up in the situation and we will make decisions based on what seems best at the moment. Often times the people others respect are those that stand by their convictions when the going gets tough. A person of conviction will stand out from the crowd.

Third we need to be bold. Courage is essential if we are going to stand apart for the crowd. It isn't easy being different because we feel so alone and vulnerable. That is one reason why people have a hard time breaking free from the influence of the world. It is important to remember that respect doesn't come by being like everyone else, but it comes from having the courage to be different. Why is that so? I believe it is because many people want to be people of convictions, but they don't have the courage to separate themselves from the world. Respect is giving to those that do.

Being respected is very important if we are going to make an impact this world. When we are respected by others then they will listen to what we have to say and follow where we lead. Respect is a precious commodity, are you making sure you are holding on to yours?

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