Friday, May 5, 2017
For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17(NLT)
In yesterday’s Honorable Behavior devotion we noted some differences in Peter and Paul; that was mostly about the differences in their personalities. Today I’d like to point out that, when it comes to how to go about living as a pilgrim believer in a foreign land, Peter and Paul were on the same page.
Peter has just instructed believers to respect everyone including earthly government leaders, but especially to fear (or reverence) God.
Here’s what Paul had to say about that:
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.
Honorable behavior is a matter of doing what is right.
In 21st century jargon doing right means believers and followers of Jesus Christ must be ethical people. The working-out of our faith means living within the confines of integrity; it’s that place where our walk and talk match-up.
Ethics always goes to motive, that which takes place in the heart. Respecting everyone, and particularly loving the family of believers demands that truth will be constantly worked-out in the heart, and then spoken at all times.
At times, speaking the truth will seem costly, even harmful. Yet that is the only way to fear God and respect people. Even a little lie chips away at the ethic of respecting people.
Have you ever felt that little sting inside just when you were about to say something you knew wasn’t quite the truth? Of course you have; that’s God’s reminder to run it against what you know to be the right thing to do.
Peter and Paul were on the same page on that one!
When you form a habit it changes your character. Little lies become faulty and untrustworthy character.