It's great to have the weapons of warfare - righteousness, truth, peace, and faith. But once obtained
we need to know what to use them for so we may hit the mark. The application in terms that we can all relate
to will take a lot of the religion of men out of it. When our traditions and doctrines are used to serve up divine
dignity instead of becoming ends in themselves then we will be farther along. These can be powerful weapons for
the ministration of salvation or for the destructive work of condemnation. One of the marks of difference is knowing
the goal of divine self respect. Love dedicates our hearts to meetings people’s needs. One of the deepest is self
respect, which really should be determined by God’s estimation of us - divine self respect.
There are several ways Divine Self Respect gives power. We see this when we consider the following
I. Divine self respect gives us power in battle.
Eph 6:11-13 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having
done all, to stand.
When we stumble and fall in this life it's often because we have made the battle about us and our plans. We
will get very angry, very hurt or very afraid. We will curse or threaten or fall into depression, or perhaps anxiety
attacks will go so deep that our bodies are compromised. The end result for some is suicide. Why do we lose
control? How have we been deceived into going by our feelings? Satan has deceived us into making the conflict
we face about us and about our plans. When someone offends you then you may react. Both of you may then make
vows. "I'll never let that happen again. I'll never open my heart again to them. I'm not going to help them anymore.
They can just...."
As a Christian you have a higher purpose. Satan wants to destroy God's plan for you to positively influence
someone's life. The battle you face is about who Jesus is and the salvation and strengthening of others. When you
lose emotional control it's because the battle has caused you to make the conflict about you and your desires.
Discount the battle and Satan has won another round. He has compromised your influence and God's plan has taken
another hit. The difficulties we face in life are not about us. They are temporary. The more we entangle ourselves
in earthly desires and consequent earthly pathways to attain, support and maintain those desires, the more vulnerable
we become. Over extending financially is one way. Relationship compromises such as living together, kids our of
wedlock, trouble with the law, unfaithfulness, etc. all bind us to fragile human effort beyond our means in the tough
times. Entanglements with our own pride, well being and performance orientation to prove our identities also make
us very vulnerable and entangled with this world's affairs.
When we feel threatened we are tempted to make it about us and our plans and agendas. If you're entangled,
do something about it because you have a greater purpose. Do it for love, for God and for others. Otherwise you will
be a pawn in Satan's hand. Don't make the battle about your purposes or you will lose. Make it about God's because
that's the only place that the battle is truly raging. If you make your battles about your way, your ego, your
desires, you have unwittingly already joined forces with mankind's adversary. And he will call upon you to
fight for him every time you feel threatened and think you are fighting for yourself. If you can just make sense out
of the battle you will already have begun to regain emotional control. You will understand why things happen the
way they do to rob your joy and stability. The confusion of why and how will be destroyed. Confusion with the
resulting continual 'grinding' and tossing back and forth will come to a quick end. You then begin to know your goal
- put on the whole armour of God.
People often look for answers, or they enter into conflicts they can't win, or they try to control and
manipulate with threats, intellect, religion, tears, etc. because they have lost their well being. They are empty.
If you understand that people do what they do, and get defensive because their well being is threatened, then you
can better manage the offences that come when Satan engages a battle. If you make it about the bombs that are being
carnally lobbed you will lose. If you have revelation about the armor of God, you will go far beyond the trigger that
is being pulled and you will disarm the fear, hurt or hate. Then you won't need a bullet proof vest, or you won't need
to defend yourself against attack because God has used real and effective weapons to remove the reasons for the
II. Divine self respect gives us power in relationships.
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of
When people find their well being in their own righteousness they are going to go off sooner or later,
and often. Defensiveness is a sign of a battle that is being waged and lost. It is a sign that our well being is coming
from within our selves, our performance or our personal estimation, or from the estimation of others. A breastplate
of righteousness finds the needs of life for love, acceptance and respect coming from God. If they are not found in
Him then the pursuit of personal righteousness is on. People find it from a vast array of earthly devices including
beliefs themselves. Our well being must come from God, not our beliefs in God. If it is not so then when our faith
is challenged we get defensive. It can not come from our church or from our ministry, or the same result ensues.
People want love, acceptance and respect. They all may try to get it in different ways, but it is a need that God
alone should fill. We've heard a lot about the first two. But respect often lies more hidden as a pursuit. When we sin
we lose it. When others don't legitimize us we give it away with dislike or outright fighting. We make the battle
about ourselves when we try to look good. We make it about others when we try to make them look good. Which
do you think works better for well being? One of the highest ways of the Kingdom of God is to give respect to
others, and then it is automatically given back to us. Respect is the recognition of dignity, value and worth due
us. If we don't live for it ourselves we ultimately lose emotional control. Our personal respect and valuation is
greatly diminished. We may then try to fake it with jobs, education or performance. If we don't get respect from
others we can enter the same defeating cycle.
Put on the righteousness of God! See how He has respected you. Receive it. Then it won't be so hard to
give it to others, even when they are attacking you. If their attack on your self respect is not effective then you can
disarm the principles of battle by giving respect. "They don't deserve it," is a statement of anger because you feel
they have not earned it or given it to you. Fact, you can't earn respect from God. It is a gift. When you humbly
receive it, then you can act in such a way that others will start to recognize the estimation of value, dignity and worth
that you have. If you don't have the self respect that comes from God you will have trouble in relationships. You
will be touchy, sensitive, and basically leave a trail of egg shells behind you. If you have to earn respect or if you
feel others have to earn your respect you are not living the gospel. God gives it freely. You give it freely. If others
don't respond then you must respect them still, but with a sadness in your heart, knowing that but for the grace of
God, there you are.
One of the reasons I think it is so hard for some to receive the respect of God is that they demand
it from people. They expect others to meet their criteria for respect. That is their rule of life. They may say they
believe in grace, but yet the double standard forbids them receiving sufficient dignity from God. The heart can't have
it both ways. Such a heart betrays openly the reality that they still believe in respect from works, as something to
earn, and not something to freely feed upon to change the outward actions.
God has great respect for us in Christ. He says, "Take my value, my worth, my dignity, and wear it as your
own. Humble yourself to forsake your own value, and take mine." Heaven shouts with loud voice at the
appearance of the Savior, "Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor, and power, and glory, and dominion, and
blessing." That is His value, and God has given that value to us in Christ. Accordingly, we are to give that same
determination to others. "I value you so highly, even as an enemy, that I will give my life for you while you spit in
my face, assassinate my character, and destroy my body."
This is what forgiveness does too. It is given only when one has recovered his own respect. People who
have been brutalized by abuse are called to forgive. However, until they can freely receive the respect that
comes from God, they do not have the power to do it. Healing comes first. The dynamics of healing are intended
to restore respect to the soul, that which the abuse has robbed. You hadn't been respected as a person of value and
dignity and it bruised your soul. All of your life since has been spent living the vow to protect yourself.
Unfortunately, when you shut your heart up in defensiveness, you also blocked the dignity of God from
III. Divine self respect gives us power in our vulnerability and openness.
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
The gospel, good news, of peace is hard to comprehend. When our hearts are full of peace we don't mind what
others say about us so much. Without peace we have opinions. When others don't agree with our opinions, beliefs,
then it's easy to take offense. Our heart can say, "You don't value my opinion, you don't value me. You are robbing
my esteem and well being." All the while our mouth is saying, "You have the right to your opinion." But we don't
believe it, really. What other people think of us only has power over us when we are not at peace with who we are.
Why should we give people such power over our lives? It is especially the people that are closer to us, that we have
given our respect to, that we often also give authority over us. We have come to value them, and to set them up for
warfare. That's why so often the people closest to us in the pew create the deepest hurts in our lives. We give
respect to others, and at the same time we draw upon them for the respect that only God can give. We call it opening
our hearts and becoming vulnerable, or letting our guard down with those we trust.
Pastors get it, and people often set them up for battle. Parents almost always get it. Married couples usually
live in this world too. "You said you loved me, and now you do this to me?!" To accept someone's love and give
them the strings to our heart, our respect, must be done by people who first have learned how to get their respect
from God. Once two people in any relationship start trying to get their primary respect from one another
there is going to be a fight. The fact of the matter is, you can't rightly love me if you put me on the throne of
your heart. There is a place there for God without which people can not live in perpetual peace. Respecting others
without first receiving divine self respect can be a dangerous thing.
People often walk away from relationships because they don’t know how to receive divine self
respect. When a married person wants a divorce where their has been no adultery or overt abuse they are usually
not running away from their spouse. They are running away from themselves. Once the devil gets a person to
start running they will usually run for the rest of their lives. Once flight begins it can continue because to stop
means to face that running was a mistake in the first place.
IV. Divine self respect gives us power in conflict.
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of
If you put misplaced trust in people you are going to be offended by them. If you attempt to draw more life
from them then you give to them you are often going to be offended by them. When you attempt to get too much
well being from someone, thereby esteeming their life too highly, you have set them up as a target, and then
you will blame them for not being the Son of God. Oh, you won't say as much, but the truth is we put too much faith
in, too much esteem in people's estimations. Respect, the estimation of value, dignity and worth, must come from
God. People can't be God to you. You want people to like you. Many people need people to like them. Jesus said,
"Woe unto you if all people speak well of you."
In some respects, we view each person as a walking courtroom. We see them as existing to validate us.
We are not really conscious of it until someone says, "What's wrong with you?" Panic strikes like lightening. The
right answer may go something like this. "I am a sinner saved by grace. I am what I am by the grace of God. I am
not perfect. I have a right to be treated with dignity and respect as one covered by the blood of Jesus. If you see
something wrong with me, tell me and I will confess it, if it is true and if you are willing to forgive me. If I do not
see it or agree with it, you are still responsible to love me and treat me with respect - God's estimation of my value,
dignity and worth. If you have a personal need for me to agree with you, if you are not willing to let God show me
this thing, then I may not respond as you wish."
Fear causes many of us to respond with something less than a respectful attitude. We may fear that our
destiny is in the hands of others. Their actions may cause me the loss of income. If it is so, somehow I have given
them authority over my life. I can easily blame others for my fallen sense of destiny. When we fear that others will
not give us respect and that they also hold our finances in their hands, then we may have a difficult battle. Or
perhaps they hold something else that we value like position, ministry, status. The fact is that God is the one that
exalts and puts down. He is the one that gives us the ability to prosper. He does it by our faith, the simple faith that
causes us to rest in divine respect. We fear other's estimation of us needlessly. It is to God that we live and die. We
are His servants, He our only master. Satan wants to master us through fear. God wants to master us through faith
which works by love. Whenever fear rises its head, Satan is at work. Fear is future and manifests itself in anger -
which is present, and hurt - which is past. Where these exist and emotional control is gone the Bible has the answer!
V. Divine self respect gives us power in our “poverty.”
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Protect your head. Let what you hear be filtered through the promises of the Gospel of salvation. You are
saved! You have God's righteousness and His protective promises. He is with you. Divine respect is established.
But don't be confused. It doesn't mean you are perfect! So stop acting like it. You say, "I don't." Then why is it that
when someone asks you, "Why did you fail to do such and such?" that you melt with indignity. Some people can
take no correction in context. They make it about their respect. "I didn't just tell you that you were a filthy animal.
I just asked why you didn't do what you said you would do. I wanted to know why so that we could figure out how
to not miss it next time." People often hear 'lack of respect' when nothing of the kind is intended. Why? They
haven't learned that you neither can earn nor have to earn respect. They need to be validated at every turn.
Now, we certainly need to minister respect to others. But we must do so as ministers, not as the source.
Others have had people beat them down all of their lives. Then there are those who have chosen to interpret
correction as personal failure. No one is going to correct you like Jesus can. No one. We are all imperfect. Don't
expect it otherwise. Those who correct others - look beyond the fault to see the need - respect. Value others as Jesus
does. They may be bums, criminals, lazy, selfish no-goods in the eyes of men. But God treated you with the dignity
of the cross. Do so for others.
Protect your head. God respects you and He understands you. We all have times where we feel we need
to be understood, or heard. "I just want to know that you really heard what I said." But do you really want others
to fully understand you? Or do you just want them to understand what you want them to understand about you?
Perhaps they understand more about you than you do about yourself in a matter! Maybe they know the truth about
the situation better than you and it's not an issue of understanding you. It's an issue of you not understanding the
truth. You just disagree.
Why is being understood so important? Do we really think that understanding someone would
validate them, or us, and do anything to increase respect. The need to be understood is a manifestation of a lack
of respect received. You walk with your head held high no matter if people understand or not. They didn't create
you, die for you, or dedicate their lives to your welfare. The need to be understood is the need for validation. God
has accepted you into His Kingdom. You will inherit all things. You have a mansion, white robes, crowns and angels
waiting to attend to you. Is that not validation enough? Let your thoughts be established under the helmet of
salvation. Believe God's Word and it's understanding of you. Believe me. You are understood in heaven!
VI. Divine self respect gives us power over injustice.
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints;
After all the thoughts on respect and relationships have been chewed and digested it will do little to
boost the energy level of the inner man without time with God. The alternative is time with man - others or
yourself. Even TV is time with man vs God. We have some of our greatest conflicts with people because we spend
too much time with them and not enough time with God. Time in His presence is where He makes the Word real.
Here is where power is established as we commune with Him in 'real time.' Studying the Bible can be like playing
re-runs. They're still good and still true, so to speak. But we need something live, here and now, fresh, current, and
up to date. We need to experience what God is saying in the moment in our lives. The Word guides us, and is part
of that fresh, live experience with Him. But prayer is where the finishing touches are applied to what God wants to
do in our lives to make us strong.
We may worry, fret and have incredible anxiety over other people's influence in our lives. But what about
our influencing them by praying for them? What about working to change and bless and strengthen their lives with
the power of God? You see, we aren't called to be those constantly in places of vulnerability to the opinions
of others. We are those called to minister to them. That is a higher plane than the fear of man. It comes from
recognizing that it is not your place, position or purpose to worry about what others can do to you. There is no
greater place of influence through heaven than the one where you have been bludgeoned by another, yet you
go to pray for them. Here, God sees the heart of a priest. Jesus did not for one second struggle with men's opinion
about Him. And though we certainly are not the Son of God, we are sons of God.
We are what we are by the grace of God, not the grace of men. You have no obligation to seriously
consider the judgmental thoughts of anyone who does not have the heart of a priest to pray for you and
extend to you the grace of God. 99% of the anger, disdain and criticism of men towards you is fueled by their own
selfishness, and you are left to try to sort it out. Well, sort it out now, and file it in the ground. Any response you
have to the displeasure of men will only work to make you a slave to them, ordering your life out of the fear of
what they will say or do next. On the job, if you are performing out of the fear of losing your job, you may be in the
wrong job. I believe God wants us to do what we were created to do, and if our work is a drudge, and we have no
choice, then do it as unto the Lord, not unto men. Serve in your occupation as a servant and not as a slave. Then if
your boss still weighs heavy on your soul your heart can be free as one who has the joy of serving God.
Don't give men the authority of God over your life. You'll make yourself and them miserable. Anyone
constantly looking for approval from men will not only be miserable but will also be a misery. Instead, use the
authority of God in prayer for them.
"But they still don't 'get it'". What good is it if you do wrong and suffer for it and take it patiently? We
seldom even do that. But you have been called to do good, suffer for it, and take it patiently. That is the life of the
grace of God lived unto Him and before men. It's true that many good deeds will not go unpunished, especially ones
done that expose the sin in others simply by your self control. You have committed your life to God's care, not only
His approval. He will therefore care for you. If you have not submitted your life to men to care for, why should
you think that they have the right to make value judgements about you? It's one thing for them to 'care-front'
you in grace. But again, anyone who does also has the responsibility to do so in an atmosphere of respect and
unselfishness. They must be thinking of your welfare more than their own. This is the heart of the prayerful priest.
There must be no inner joy that their confrontation of you makes you miserable. Furthermore, if you hold in low
esteem the opinions of men about you then it will be far easier for you to receive any correction that God may
be using them for. When your respect comes from God you can look at the facts without taking a hit that God does
not intend. When we are troubled that we may have offended the divine dignity of God more than we are
troubled about what others may think of us then we are living with our growth point from a proper and
effective foundation for change. Any challenge that works to diminish our respect is demonic. Without self respect
we will lose emotional control and sound spiritual footing.
If we don't hold the salvation of our souls in high regard, and if we therefore do not allow divine self
respect to rule in our lives, then it is going to be hard to give others the respect that they need. The recognition of
God given value, worth and dignity is a powerful force within us. When people question us, themselves or God it
really isn't about getting information. It's about the search for fulness, respect and well being. We don't need all the
answers. We need supernatural, blood bought, heaven sent respect.