Summary: Why is it that some Christians are respected by those around them, and some are not? Solomon gives us some concrete ways to earn the respect of others.
1. Illus. of Aretha Franklin
• The Queen of R & B music.
• One of her best known hits? “RESPECT”
• “R-e-s-p-e-c-t, find out what it means to me…”
2. We aren’t all famous singers (like Aretha and me), but we all want a little respect, don’t we? We all want to feel that people recognize and respect us for what we are!
3. Here’s the problem: respect isn’t something you automatically get. Respect has to be earned. If we want to get respect, we have to do those things that earn respect.
4. Solomon knew all about respect. He was one of the most highly respected men in the world! He was so respected that people would come from all over the world to sit and his feet and sample his wisdom. If anybody would know what it takes to earn respect, it would be Solomon.
5. Text: Solomon tells us the kinds of habits we have to cultivate if we are going to earn respect.
6. How do we earn respect? Three habits.
I. WE HAVE TO SPEAK WITH INTEGRITY
1. Proverbs 17:7 People who we look up to and respect (like a prince) should have integrity in speech. We admire people who are noted for their truthfulness in speech, don’t we?
Honest Abe Lincoln
George Washington ("I can never tell a lie. I did chop down the cherry tree!")
Jesus -- truth personified. He said "I am the truth", not "I have it.”
2. Integrity involves more than honesty. It involves dependability. Proverbs 25:15. Have you ever seen a big cloud blow up and you say, “boy oh boy, we’re going to get that rain we’ve been needing” only to have not one drop fall? Solomon says people who promise you things they never deliver are just like that!
"I’ll get on it right away."
"I’ll see to that myself."
"I’ll return it as soon as I’m done with it."
"I’ll take you fishing someday, son."
"We’re going to get involved in the church soon."
"When I get a raise I’ll start tithing."
"I’ll start my diet tomorrow."
3. Principle: Solomon says, “look. If you want people to look up to you, you’ve got to have integrity in your speech!”
4. Illus. of my dad
• Old country farmer told me one time he respected my dad.
• “If your daddy tells you that he’s got a rooster that dips snuff, you might as well look under his wing for the can!”
• That was his country way of saying daddy was as good as his word, that he spoke with integrity!
5. Do you want to earn respect? Then you’ve got to learn to speak with integrity. That means telling the truth and delivering what you promise!
II. WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH GODLINESS
1. Proverbs 11:27- When you make a habit (diligently) of seeking out good to do, you find favor. Need to determine two things in we’re going to understand this verse:
What did Solomon mean by good? This verse is a summary of several verses before it. Context- Vs 17 = mercy, not cruelty. Vs 18 = righteousness, not wickedness. Vs 20 = doing what pleases God, not what displeases him. Let’s sum it up with one word: godliness.
What did he mean by favor? Sometimes in Bible, favor means favor with God. In Solomon’s proverbs, favor always had to do with the blessing and respect of people, sometimes quite important people. For example, see Proverbs 14:35.
2. What is Solomon saying? “When you pursue a godly life, people will honor and respect you.”
3. Illus. of muy friend Harvey
• I’ve known many people that were respected because of their godly lifestyle. There are many in this church!
• One that stands out in my mind is Harvey. He will object to me saying that because he is a very humble man, but nonetheless it is true.
• Harvey is universally respected here because people know his godly lifestyle.
• Think of the people in your life that you genuinely respect. Chances are most of them will be very godly people!
4. Godliness is not the same as perfection. Nobody is perfect! Godliness is not legalism. It isn’t rigidly keeping a set of do’s and don’ts. It does mean seeking to do what pleases God as much as possible.
5. If you want to earn the respect of others, you must live with godliness.
III. WE HAVE TO WALK IN HUMILITY
1. See Proverbs 29:23- When you have a humble spirit, people will continue to look at you with honor- respect, if you would. On the other hand, when we are arrogant and proud, it causes us to be brought low.