how to keep familiarity from killing respect

five minute friday: respect

Recently a snake found its way to the garden. Perched on the fence, it watched me water and tend to the tomato plants and pile some jalapenos in my bag. As I walked over to toss the dead leaves over the fence I came nearly eye to eye with him.

I did the logical thing and screamed like an 8 year old girl. I also immediately took a picture and texted it to my husband to inform him why I felt the sudden need to sell our home.

Since that day I approach the yard, the garden and most definitely the fence, with quite differently than before.

I approach with a new found respect and fear for what may lurk there. Though I have not seen that particular snake again, I am far more aware of the patch of woods next to our house and its contents. I have respect now for what I previously didn’t give much thought to.

I often wonder if on a far greater scale, that was the feeling the disciples were consumed with when at a wedding, they witnessed Jesus perform His first miracle. There had been water in those enormous pots. How is it now the best wine? He made it so and it was so.

What kind of man is this?

Or later as the storm raged on the sea, frightening even experienced fishermen, and suddenly here comes Jesus walking on the waves of that sea as if on dry land. He calms that storm with just His word.

What kind of man is this?

Or as He is transfigured before them on the mountain. Gleaming white with a voice from Heaven confirming Him as God. He reassures them with a touch.

What kind of man is this?

The disciples surely felt respectful fear consume them every time they came face to face with Who they were dealing with. Just as I was stunned coming face to face with the snake and not approaching the yard in the same way now, I imagine those disciples approached Jesus in a new way each time they caught glimpses of Him.

Fear drives respect in most of us. It is easy to respect a wild animal who can cause harm. But what about the One who created the animal? What about the One who turns water to wine? What about the One who calms the sea and is fully the God Man?

Do we remember Who it is we are talking to when we pray? Do we approach with respect, humility and awe?

If fear drives respect then familiarity often kills it. It is easier to speak respectfully with a boss than a spouse. The lack of familiarity often puts us on our best behavior. But have we allowed familiarity with the Lord to kill our respect, our awe and our rightful fear of the Lion of Judah? We can’t forget what kind of Man this is.

My desire to keep remembering who I am worshiping is why I often start my time with Him in the morning meditating on a name of God. His names point to His character, to the essence of who He is. To sit down in the morning and remember He is the One who Sees, El Roi or the Covenant Keeper, Yahweh or the Creator, Elohim it helps remind my heart posture to respect this One I am approaching. This Lion, this Sacrificial Lamb, this Son of God is the Great I Am and I, for one, never want to let familiarity kill my respect for the One who my soul loves most.


Spending time in His Word breeds respect for the Lord as we see Him so clearly in the pages. Drop your email below to get your Tend: How to Hear the Gardener’s Voice in your inbox.

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14 thoughts on “how to keep familiarity from killing respect

  1. I think this might be a stage in every marriage, where familiarity breeds, not contempt, but a kind of dismissial. One does grow through it…if one dares.

    Your words once held so much of praise
    and bright-hued exaltations,
    but I guess those were the days;
    known now, my limitations.
    I still can do what others can’t,
    I am not old and stately,
    but no more does this enchant;
    “What have you done lately?”
    This is, I suppose, expected;
    even Ferraris age,
    but still, I am dejected
    on this dim-writ page
    and hope that the time come after
    will bring back the joy and laughter.

  2. I’ve been thinking some similar thoughts lately about how I pray. I am not sure how to pray with the proper amount of reverence, intimacy, and faith. I know God sees my heart, and yet I’m not sure I always give God the respect He deserves.

    1. yes, that is why I always find myself coming back to meditating on names of God as I approach Him. It helps refocus my heart on who it is I am coming to.

  3. Thank you for making me think this morning! I think we lose respect for God when we start assigning him feelings (usually ours), opinions (usually ours), and attitudes (usually ours). I love your practice of reflecting on the names of God. What a beautiful way to remember who he is!

    1. Yes, Anita, that is exactly right, we do all to easily attribute God characteristics of ourselves rather than remembering He is other than. And really we ought to mimic Him not the other way around.

  4. Wonderful reminder! It is definitely easy to grow complacent in our relationship with God. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. This is good! I believe that God knows that we become familiar with God, and thus does things to remind us that we aren’t in control. (Not things like illness or trouble; God is the Author of life and light). This Wednesday I preached at youth gathering, and I was barred by the Spirit from using a manuscript. I have never, ever preached that way before. Such a great reminder to surrender to God and rely on God to give me the words!

    1. yes, I God knows I need the reminder I am not in control, He is and He does all things well. What a great testimony of having to depend on the Lord for your words this week. Thank you for sharing.

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