Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:17
Heavenly Father, no matter our country, generation, or politics, this one verse is timely and transcendent. As those who belong to the Lord Jesus, these four commands are vital, and each one requires the Gospel.
“Show proper respect to everyone” – Only in relationship with Jesus is this possible. Everyone is an image-bearer of God—even the people we consider our enemies. To harbor hatred is to commit heart-murder (Matt. 5:21-22; 1 John 3:15). To “nurse our grudges” is to suckle from a pool of poison. Help us, Father.
“Love the family of believers” – More than ever, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ. You call us to bear each other’s burdens; to provoke each other to love and good deeds; and to make the Gospel beautiful and believable to our cities. As Jesus’ church, we’re to be a grace-community of kindness, not a gated-community of self-righteousness. Help us, Father.
“Fear God” – Father, because of what you’ve done for us in Jesus, we’re not to live afraid of you. But we are to grow in our fear of you—our awe, wonder, and esteem of you. Only you are God. Only you are sovereign. Only you are worthy of our adoration, allegiance, and affection. Forgive us when we give these things to mere men. Help us, Father.
“Honor the emperor” – In America, we have a president, not an emperor. Today is the last full day in office for our sitting president, and the day before our next president is inaugurated. We fear you, Father, and honor President Trump, as we thank you for what you were sovereignly pleased to do of lasting worth through his presidency. Bless him, and his family, as they transition into the next season of life. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ glorious and grace-full name.