vs. Disrespect
Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me

Key Verse

“Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.”
Proverbs 23:17–18

The operational definition of reverence is “awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me.” In Scripture, reverence for God is often described as the “fear of the Lord” and humble worship. Knowing God inspires a sense of awe in us as we become more aware of His authority, power, and presence. To trust Him, we do not need to understand every situation. We only need to know that God is faithful to His Word and works all things together for His glory. As we lovingly obey Him, He changes us to be like Jesus. A Christian demonstrates reverence as he acts wisely and is careful not to dishonor the Lord’s name. He submits to authority, receives correction, graciously forgives others, and experiences peace because he knows that God is trustworthy and rules over all.

A reverent person lives in humble and grateful awareness of God’s presence and power, trusting Him even through difficult situations.
When God’s Word is disrespected in a society, the basis for honoring God, people, and property is lost.

The opposite of reverence is disrespect. Disrespect is rooted in pride and exposes a disregard for God’s authority. When a person rejects God and His commands, he will fail to honor others. Talking back or misbehaving to get one’s own way are expressions of disrespect. The disrespectful person may foolishly think that he is powerful by belittling others or undermining authority. He may complain, roll his eyes, or challenge authorities by saying: “You can’t make me do that” or “I hate your rules!” Disrespect exposes a heart that is fearful and seeking control, lacking the proper fear of the Lord. Because an irreverent person is unwilling to humbly trust God, he fails to see how God is at work. He will not know peace until he submits to God and trusts Him with the people and situations in his life.

Evaluation Questions

  • What attributes of God cause me to be in awe of Him?
  • Do I realize that God knows everything I think, say, and do?
  • What idols in my life steal my time and affection from God?
  • Do I treat my body with respect as the temple of the Holy Spirit?
  • Would my parents and teachers say that I faithfully obey and honor them?
  • Do I respect government authorities as ministers of God for my good?
  • Do I trust that God is working through difficult people and situations to refine me for His glory?
  • Is there anyone whom I am not treating with respect?
  • Does my reverence for Christ include total submission to His plans for my life?

More About Reverence

“If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Reverence with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Worship only Him.

“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

Stand in awe.

“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” Psalm 113:5–6

Honor my leaders.

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17

Treat every person with dignity.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14

Stay under authority.

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” I Peter 2:13–14

Refrain from mockery.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29

Respect those who are different.

“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:5–7

Respond with a good attitude.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Remember that He is no respecter of persons.

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” Deuteronomy 10:17

Honor Him.

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23

Reverence in Scripture

The Search for the King

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”
Matthew 2:11
Did you know that God not only created the stars, but He also knows how many there are and calls each by name? Astronomy is “the scientific study of the universe beyond earth,” including the stars God made. Groups of stars are called constellations. Interestingly, the constellations’ Hebrew names point to the story of redemption. While we can study God’s magnificent creation, God never wants us to worship anything He has made but rather to worship only Him. One night, some ancient astronomers saw a special star! These “wise men” understood that this star was a sign that a king had been born among the Jews. Eagerly, the wise men set out on the long journey to the capital city of Judea, where they inquired about the newborn king. When this news reached Herod, the Roman ruler of Judea and “king of the Jews,” he and the townspeople were greatly disturbed. King Herod was fearful of being overthrown, so he had built massive fortresses to secure his reign. Imagine his surprise when these foreigners arrived, searching for a new king! What did this mean? Whom would King Herod summon to help him locate the child? What would the wise men find that would cause them to be in awe of God?

Revealed in Nature

Great Plains Bison

The Great Plains bison is the largest animal in North America, weighing as much as 2,500 pounds. The younger bison shows honor to the elder bison by following his lead to new areas for grazing.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to trust, worship, and fear God as they see Him work through the people and circumstances in their lives.

View the Reverence booklet sample:

Get the complete Reverence booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Reverence

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
To reverence a ruler is to be reminded that God gave him his authority and will work through him to accomplish His will.