Know: “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” – I Peter 2:17
“This is totally unnecessary,” I hissed at the gate guard while thinking “You are not the boss of me”. I was stuck at the post entrance and being asked to comply with another seemingly unnecessary security precaution. I had just left the church where it felt like I spent almost every day. Between pre-school, ladies Bible study, leadership team meetings, services and functions I was frequently either coming or going from the church building. However his particular afternoon I’m confident my actions did not reflect frequent time spent in God’s house! I gave the unfortunate young man a piece of my mind accompanied by a very angry expression and proceeded through the barrier. My two girls in the backseat were now on guard that mom was fired up!
The verse for this final lesson beautifully summarizes the result of our fearing God. Through our study of wisdom, we’ve seen the importance of a proper view of God, a healthy fear of His awesome holiness, authority and power. This attitude, grounded in a deep relationship with God, produces obedience, courage, an eternal focus and an assurance. This accurate reverence, however, should powerfully affect how we interact with the world in which God has placed us.
It is fitting that we conclude our study with I Peter 2:17. It is the capstone of a passage on influence. God has made us from nothing into something. This metamorphosis is for a purpose. We find this purpose in verses 9 & 12. The remainder of the passage proceeds to spell out the how. We’re tempted to think we bring glory to our Savior from large heroic acts, big giving, and Hollywood blockbusters! Conversely, Peter suggests it’s in the mundane of life. How do I value the woman who cleans my hotel room? How do I respond to the Christian sister who really hurt my feelings? What do I say about laws with which I fervently disagree? .And…how do I react to the gate guard?
Last week we talked about God’s great power and our respect of it. Knowing He is all-mighty gives us the security and motivation to do what he calls us to do. It is the “fear of the Lord” which empowers our obedience. In this week’s passage we learn that honor extends beyond God to our earthly authorities and all those with whom we come in contact.
I should add that God did not give me any peace the afternoon of my fit until I returned to the gate and apologized to the very surprised and slightly frightened guard! I told him I was a Christian and I couldn’t leave without acknowledging my wrongdoing.
I fully believe that God is in charge of all aspects of my personal life. I embrace that big word “sovereign” and what it entails for my daily living and the future. This acceptance has brought me peace as we have moved and experienced challenging times. This trust comes because I trust that God is all knowing and all wise and that he has working all things to my good and His glory. I am quite confident that nothing about my tirade brought God glory or attracted anyone, my kids included, to my God!
Key Concept: [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]We demonstrate our fear and commitment to our Heavenly Father by how we interact with those He has placed in our lives.[/tweetthis]
This Week’s Faith-Over-Fear-Challenge: A trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty is demonstrated in how we honor others with whom we may disagree. What earthly authorities are you struggling to honor? Confess this to God and ask for His strength in responding correctly.
Questions for Discussion and Journaling:
- What cultural issues in the public forum currently have you frustrated? How are you responding to them? Does your response, in content or tone, reflect a gracious and holy God?
- Are there authority figures in your life that you struggle openly or secretly to respect?
- Is there a connection between our discussion last week about “working out our salvation” and this week’s focus on honoring all men and the emperor?
- How does a proper fear of God provide freedom in your day-to-day life?
Continue: Bible Memory & Daily homework:
Day 1: Let’s look at this week’s verse in context. Read 1 Peter 2:9. Make a list of how we are described once we are adopted into God’s family. How does this encourage you? How do these verses about who you are provide courage?
Day 2: Work on memorizing 1 Peter 2:9. Read 1 Peter 2:12. What is our stated purpose under our new identity? According to verse 12 for what should followers of Christ be prepared?
Day 3: This week’s verse commands four acts. Define what each of these means in your life. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal in which of these areas you are not glorifying Him.
Quick historical note: The “emperor” that Peter is referring to was likely Nero. The emperor was responsible for the burning of Rome. Needing a scapegoat he targeted the new Christ-followers and proceeded to, “punish with the utmost refinements of cruelty. . . Christians. . . . They were covered with wild beasts’ skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night.” -Tacitus, a Roman historian.
Day 4: Read Romans 13:1-2. How does this passage affect your understanding of our verse this week? Read Matt 5:44. In what ways do you struggle with authority? Stop and pray for wisdom and blessing for a person or persons with whom you struggle. Only God can empower obedience in our lives to these commands!
Day 5: We study God’s word to deepen our relationship with Him; to know Him better and to know how to express our love, thankfulness and service to Him. Spending time meditating on Scripture and in prayer changes us. Out of exuberance and gratefulness we want to share about God and what He has done – this is testifying. As we finish this study, reflect on how God has worked in your life. How have you been changed? In what ways is God using you to bring glory to himself? Testify about it!
Creative Component: Create prayer cards to pray for those in authority and the “brotherhood.” This is a practical and tangible way to implement Scripture’s command in Matt 5:44. Watch God work in your heart!
Chime in and comment below: In what ways has God used this study to change you? Testify about it!