“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (NLT)
I turned to my devotional for the day and read:
I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you, and will take care of you. (Isaiah 46:3-4—New Century Version)
I see a thread of God’s care and intent for me, for each of us in those Scriptures.
He made me.
He knows me.
He has set me apart.
He has appointed tasks for me.
He has carried me.
He takes care of me.
He made me.
It’s clear to me that I am to be less concerned with what others think of me and more trusting that my God knows me, has a purpose for me, carries and cares for me. If I am authentically His, I can be, will be, more authentically me. I don’t have to worry about the impression I make on others. I only need to focus on Him. His word tells me how to relate to the others in my life and does not change with each new trend that comes down the road. Where should my standard and focus be?
My God has regard for me. He cares for me. Having been shown regard, respect by the God of all there is, should I not then imitate my Abba, my Papa, and show respect for others from those not yet born to those who are old and ill, to those who are disabled physically or mentally?
God’s regard for us models an attitude that is able to transform all of society beginning with our homes. I stand guilty of not modeling this respect to my parents, brothers, and sisters, to my husband, to my children, and yes, even my grandchildren.
It’s all too often so easy to let that smirk cross our face, to roll our eyes, to grumble under our breath, to yell at others instead of going to them, looking in their eyes and agreeing or disagreeing with them with civility and decency.
This lack of respect has penetrated every layer of society. This lack of respect has penetrated every relationship from our relationship with God to the relationship with our civil authorities to our relationships with family, friends, and definitely anyone we disagree with or who disagrees with us.
Our behavior toward other people should be first of all governed by our relationship with God. His word tells us to pray for our enemies, to submit to one another, to build each other up, to love one another. Our behavior toward others should depend more on our character than on their character. We are all too often reactive—someone yells at us, we yell at them; someone treats us badly, we treat them badly; someone gets in our way, we go over top of them. Our respect and love should be motivated by our love for God and the standard of His word.
I often use the picture of being a thermostat instead of a thermometer. The thermometer only measures, only responds to the temperature. A thermostat sets the temperature. I can only govern myself in the strength God gives me but I can govern myself in the strength God gives me and you can, too. Let’s hold up and live a godly standard. Let’s make a difference by being different.