(Matthew 22:37-38), "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."
The Biblical meaning of respect is “to regard with honor; to have a high opinion of; to place great value upon; to reverence; to submit to the judgment or authority of another.” According to the biblical definition of respect, we are to regard God with honor, to have a high opinion of Him, to place a great value upon Him, to reverence Him, and to submit to His judgment and authority. As sad as it is to say, we are living in a world that has no “respect for God”, and many churches and believers in Christ Jesus have lost their “respect for God.” It is sad because when a person has no respect for God they lose respect for all other areas of life and a loss of respect for God will cause other areas of their lives to suffer. Peace and joy in life are a result of having the right "respect for God." In the above passage we are told how that loving God with all our heart,and with all our soul, and with all our mind, will produce within us a right respect for God. How will loving God rightly produces a proper respect for Him?
- A PROPER RESPECT FOR GOD WILL MOVE US IN OUR REVERENCE BEFORE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
A proper respect for God is important because it affects how one sees God. The word "reverence" means "fear mingled with an overwhelming feeling of admiration that proceeds from a just esteem of God’s perfections, which produces a passionate desire to serve Him and an unwillingness to offend Him.” In the definition of reverence we understand the progressive order and effect in which reverence produces a proper respect for God. Firstly, it produces fear, which is the result of understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment on sin. Secondly, it produces an admiration, awe, and worship for God's person and perfections. Thirdly, it produces a passionate desire to serve God; and fourthly it produces an unwillingness to offend Him. Reverence for God is the motivating factor that moves a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and surrender their lives to His Lordship after they are saved. However, when one lives flippantly, carelessly, sinfully, indifferently, and apathetically toward God, it is a sign they do not have the proper respect of or fear toward God.
- A PROPER RESPECT FOR GOD WILL MOVE US IN OUR RECEPTIVENESS OF THE WORD OF GOD
A proper respect for God is not only important because it affects one's reverence before the sovereignty of God but it also affects their attitude toward the Word of God. A proper respect for God will move one to have an "appetite" for the Word of God. (Nehemiah 8:1), “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded.” It will also move one to be "attentive' to the Word of God. (Nehemiah 8:2a), And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation…(v.3), And he read therein…and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.” Thirdly, a proper respect for God will move one to "appropriate" the Word of God in their lives. (Nehemiah 8:14), “And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month. (v.17), “And all the congregation of them that we come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths…And there was very great gladness.” One who does not have a desire for and a heart to obey the Word of God does not have a proper respect for God.
- A PROPER RESPECT FOR GOD WILL MOVE US IN OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE THINGS OF GOD
A third reason having a proper respect for God is important is because it moves a person to take and fulfill their responsibilities to God. A proper respect for God will move one to take their responsibilities before God "readily." (Isaiah 6:8), “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.”
(Luke 5:10b-11), “And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”
(Acts 9:3-4a), “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth… (v. 6), “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? A proper respect for God will also move one take their responsibilities "seriously." (I. Corinthians 9:24-27), “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as on that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection…” Thirdly, having a proper respect of God will move one to take their responsibilities "precisely." (Genesis 6:22), “Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Exodus 39:42), “According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.” (Joshua 11:15), “As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.” Any who does not respond to the voice of God through His Word and Holy Spirit do not take their responsibilities before God readily, seriously, and precisely, do not have a proper respect for God.
I want to close by saying, that having a proper respect for God will result in loving God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind and God will bless your life. There will be the privilege of knowing God intimately, having a conscious awareness of God's presence at all time, knowing you are pleasing God and not offending Him, more self-respect, a greater testimony, just to name a few.
Pastor Allen Jackson