A few days ago, as my family and I were getting ready for our Sunday night church service, a certain man in my life that shall rename nameless (ahem) appeared ready to go out the door with his shirt untucked. No big deal, right? Absolutely not, unless for years you have been trying to get this same nameless person to loosen up a little, to be a little more stylish and “go with the flow”, to be a tad more trendy. Had I finally convinced them? Had they finally started thinking along the same lines as myself? Had they “seen the light”? Let me assure you… that was not the case. What made the difference? Well, a few months back, we attended a conference. A very well respected conference that was filled with an amazing time of teaching and worshipping and a time where (you guessed it) a few of the speakers wore untucked shirts. I did not say one word about it…not one… yet, when we returned home I noticed that this unnamed person starting wearing his shirttail untucked at times. I wondered if it would last and surprisingly, it has. What’s the difference? Respect.
Respect is a powerful thing. It cannot be demanded; it can only be earned. I often wonder what people think when they say things like, “You need to respect me.” We can show respect to someone without actually respecting them, but we can’t respect someone simply because they demand it. It must be earned.
Influence is a powerful thing as well. Respect and influence often go hand in hand. If my children respect someone, oftentimes they will want to dress like that individual, or talk like them, or like the same things as the person they respect without even realizing it. My youngest son got a major haircut the other day. When he showed me the picture of what he wanted the final result to look like, I realized it was just like his guitar teacher. He didn’t realize it, but I knew in that moment how much he respected his teacher. It went beyond simply liking him. His subconscious was molding him into the person whom he valued. I didn’t tell my child to respect his teacher; it simply happened because his teacher is worthy of respect. And, the respect led to influence.
For this reason, First Timothy 3:8 tells us that leaders in the church need to be worthy of respect. It reads, “Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money.” God knows and so did the Apostle Paul that people who are respected are natural influencers. In the church, this can be a very good thing. When someone is worthy of respect in every area, our children respect them and want to be like them. Young men and women of faith rise up because they have godly men and women to repsect.
First Timothy 3:11 says, “Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.” This verse tells us that respect is not only vital in the church, but in the home as well. We see that whether you are a leader in the home, or church you are called to be a person worthy of respect, worthy of being a person of influence. If people respect you outside of your home, but not inside, it creates bitterness in your family. Something doesn’t add up and your kids are the first to know. They need authenticity in order to count you as worthy of respect.
First Timothy 6:1 deals with the workplace. It says, “All who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters to be worthy of all respect, so that God’s name and His teaching will not be blasphemed.” Now, we are not actually slaves today, but this still applies. Anyone who is in charge of what we do, anyone who can stop a paycheck from coming to us, can be considered our boss, our “master” to an extent. So, the verse applies. We are to respect those in authority over us. And, as “masters” we need to be worthy of that respect. Let’s pray about how we can be consistent and godly in the workplace to garner respect and shine the light that Jesus has called us to. Without Christ, being worthy of respect on a consistent basis is impossible.
Titus 2:2 says, “Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.” This tells us that young, or old, being worthy of respect is always expected. We can never give up on the pursuit of being a person who is worthy of respect. We will mess up, but when we humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness instead of covering up our mistakes, respect from others will continue to grow. Our influence will develop as well. We will never be the ambassadors for Christ we are called to be (Second Corinthians 5:20) without being worthy of respect.
Obviously, I want to be a woman worthy of the respect of others. I don’t want to have to remind people to treat me with respect. I want to be a woman that people value overall. Jesus’ influence was so great because He was respected. Jesus was authentic to the core, people noticed and respected Him. Many of the religious leaders of the day demanded respect, but were not worthy of it. That’s why people were so hungry for authenticity. They were hungry for Jesus. People are the same today. They are hungry for authentic Christ-followers worthy of respect.
So, whether you influence people to untuck their shirt, or cut their hair, know that being worthy of respect is critical. It’s your God-given priority to be an authentic worshipper worthy of the call placed on your life.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. It does matter.
Seeking Hearts Ministries