“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:”
Romans 13:2, 3
Those who resist, or rebel, against authority will be judged. This is intended to be a motivation for us to obey the rules and follow our leaders. Whenever there are no consequences for disobedience, rebellion will be encouraged. On the other hand, an incentive for obedience to God and His ordained authority, is the anticipation of being rewarded. The Word of God says, “do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” It is a powerful reinforcement for positive behavior when those in authority commend, or praise, the obedient. This serves as a practical lesson for those who are giving the orders as well as those who are receiving them.
Most of us will admit that there are times that it is easier for us to point out the mistakes or faults of others, than to recognize and commend the good or positive things for which they are responsible. Reprimanding misbehavior definitely has its place, but so does praising good behavior. Commending is as much a part of leading as is reproving. Our Lord is the perfect example of this. He rebukes or corrects us when we disobey, but He also gives us encouragement for faithfulness.
The Bible is a great source of positive affirmation and commendation. In Revelation 2 and 3, we see Christ pointing out areas of concern in His churches, but also noting their accomplishments and positive qualities. One day at the Judgment Seat of Christ, those who have honored the Lord with their lives and service will be duly rewarded. Therefore the faithful and obedient steward lives for the anticipation of hearing Him say, “Well done.”
The power of praise is a mighty force to motivate those we lead. Sometimes we fail to recognize and commend the good in others. In our zeal to correct error and disobedience, we may be guilty of overlooking truth and obedience. The devil is always working to discourage and defeat God’s children through temptations and accusations. May God help us to use our influence to encourage and motivate through commending the good.