The effect of respect  

(following on from last Thursday…)

Jesus’ prayers were “heard” because, 1 Peter 2:23, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God.” And the effect of his respect for his Father’s will was the power to save others (Hebrews 5:9).

Well, “To this you (too) were called,” verse 21, “because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” But if that’s our goal, to be as perfect in our obedience as he was, does that give us saving power too?

I hope so, because it gives us reason for obeying the impossible commands in verses 13-14. These are tough, agonizing verses to obey: “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 honour those who do right.” And verses 18-19, “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you – not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment,” just as Jesus did.

Humanly I’m not very good at enduring unjust treatment, or not retaliating when insulted, or not seeking vindication if wronged, or being asked to respect loathsome leaders. To continue in that vein, though, where being conscious of God’s will is superseded by my will, I’ve forfeited the God-designed effect of respect. 

Which is a pity, because when Jesus respected his Father’s will, and accepted no excuses for disobeying it, he became a source of salvation for others (Hebrews 5:9). That was the effect of his respect. Not only did the Father answer Jesus’ prayers to save himself, he also gave Jesus the power to save others. So can that now be the effect of my respect for God’s will too?                                                                                                        

Well, James did say “the prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,” James 5:16 (NLT). And a righteous person, according to Peter, is one who is “conscious of God’s will,” so if that’s our attitude can our prayers produce wonderful results in others too? 

Including the best one of all, that in us people are seeing God’s will being lived, because isn’t that the most important thing they need to see to get them started on the road to salvation too?  

(More on this tomorrow…)

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