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A Matter of Honor

If we are going to attain the life that God wants for every believer we have to develop a virtue almost non-existent in the 21st century. Honor. Honor is key to receiving anything from God. God tells us in 1 Samuel 2:30 “But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.”

God’s glory and honor are intrinsically connected. You cannot have His glory without being a person of honor. (What better way to honor someone than to have the glory of Almighty God rest on them?) We will only be honored to the degree that we honor God. If we want to see a greater move of the Holy Spirit we must reverence Him! To reverence someone means to regard them or treat them with deep respect. We must love what He loves. We must hate what He hates. We must disdain what He disdains. And most importantly, we must honor what He honors! Honor is similar to faith, in that there are no degrees. You either have it or you don’t. You either honor or despise. There is no middle ground.

Hebrews 13:17 tells us, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.” That is a command, not a suggestion. We cannot be forced to honor our submit. It is something we must choose! All we have to do is obey His word and His word is very clear on this subject. Honor is very important to God. How we esteem or honor Him will differentiate us from other people and will even directly affect whether we get a full reward, partial reward, or no reward at all!

Lack of honor can happen is so many ways. We can, even through ignorance, fail to honor Him. Imagine you’re driving down the road. A police officer pulls behind you and turns on his lights. You pull over and he walks up to your window. “Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going? 55 in a 35.” Do you think he cares if you missed the posted speed limit sign? Yeah, no. He expects you to know the laws of the road before getting behind the wheel. In the same way, God expects us to know how to operate our “motor vehicle” of life. He expects us to know what to do and especially, what not to do. It’s the same way with honor. He expects us to know how to show honor. Ignorance isn’t an excuse!

1 Thessalonians 2:12 tells us, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who has called you unto His kingdom and glory.” So, how do we walk worthy of His calling? Through honor. And how do we show honor? First, through reference: How do we refer to the person we are seeking to honor. If we call our Pastor, “Hey, you!” Then we get “Hey you’s” anointing. But if we refer to our Pastor as Pastor, we benefit from the Pastor’s anointing. Second, through preference: Romans 12:10 tells us, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” Thirdly, through deference: Deference is the esteem due to a superior or elder. Do we honor those above us, in both age and anointing, by deferring to them? We certainly ought to. Always, always defer those who are your elder by either age or position! Back in the day, deference was just known as common manners!

We are working hard to instill honor in our children. To get up and give an elder their chair when they come in the room, to allow an elder to go ahead of them in line, to address their elders appropriately… It is so important that our children know how to honor their fellow man or woman. If they can’t honor those they see, how can they honor God, who they can’t see? (I think I read that somewhere…) 

We certainly don’t want to be like Eli, who didn’t discipline his sons. Eli’s lack of discipline seemed to stem from pure laziness. But nowadays it seems to come from the belief that if we discipline or chasten our children we don’t love them. Whatever happened to “spare the rod, spoil the child?” Divine love doesn’t ever mean giving in to people. Proverbs 3:11 says, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction.” And again in Job 5:17, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” Love will do what’s best for you, even if you don’t like it. Honor must be taught!

Honor can be difficult. Especially when the person we must honor is irritating or is honorless themselves. We don’t treat those in authority differently because of who they are in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:16a says, “Wherefore, henceforth know we no man after the flesh.” What YOU do in the flesh affects your spirit. If you don’t honor someone who is an irritant or honorless, it doesn’t affect them, or their spirit. It affects you and yours! It’s not worth the damage to your spirit to try and prove that point.

Honor and respect is a selfless act. It moves us from center stage and puts Jesus there, where he belongs. When Jesus is in the center of our lives — in the place of honor — everything goes the way it should. Honor should never be something we “do,” honor should be who we are! In the same way that God doesn’t love, He is love, so should honor not be something we do but who are we are! To honor isn’t an external thing. It’s a matter of our heart. We can choose to be people who are honorable or we can actually be a person of honor. I choose the latter — I hope you will too! 

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A Walk Through Psalm One

This year the kids and I have been working hard at memorizing more of the Bible. There can be no exaggeration to the importance of hiding the Word in our hearts. If you have the scripture hidden in your heart it’s a lot easier to meditate on. We don’t always have our Bibles in front of our faces but if we have as much of the Word memorized as we can, we can call it up at a moment’s notice to chew on. I’ve heard people liken it to a cow chewing its cud. We can feed on the Word, swallow it, let it sustain us, and then bring it back up to chew on some more to bring more of the nutrients out of it. But unlike the grass a cow eats, the Word never ceases to offer live-giving insights.

The first one we tackled was Psalm 1. This passage offers us a beautiful snapshot of the contrast between what our lives should and shouldn’t reflect — the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. The teaching in this Psalm enforces that there is one way to life and that is through obedience to God and His Word.

Psalms begins with a very dangerous progression for the believer. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” It speaks of a deepening involvement with the world and its all-encompassing wickedness. First, we find ourselves in the company unbelievers — we all have unsaved friends, family, acquaintances. It’s unavoidable, really. Should we take counsel or solicit advice from them? No. 2 Corinthians 6:14b says, “What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Then something we see or hear causes us to stop. Something pricks our ear — we entertain what has been said. Alistair Begg wrote, “The challenge is always this: Are men and women going to allow the Word of God to sit in judgment on their puny minds, or are they going to make their puny minds the judges of the word of God?” Ultimately, we end up sitting in the seat of the scornful — that is a dangerous place to be.

When I think of sitting in the seat of the scornful, it makes me think of a message I heard Steve Hill preach. He was talking about believers pitching their tents toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12-13) Lot did that and without going into detail — since I think we all know the story. It cost him dearly. How in the world does a believer end up sitting in the seat of the scornful? It’s not an intentional thing. It’s a gradual thing. It’s a series of unwise decisions. It’s a series of small, seemingly inconsequential compromises. Genesis 4:7 says, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” I don’t believe Cain started out his life as a homicidal two-year-old wanting to kill his brother. It was a gradual, little by little, kind of thing. There is nothing the enemy likes more than to corrupt a son or daughter of God. It is his singular aim.

In order for us to keep verse one from happening to us we have to move on. Psalms 1:2 reads, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” What happens to the believer when we delight in and feast on the Word of God? Certainly not verse one — verse three happens, that’s what!

“He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.” A tree planted by the rivers of water has no lack of sustenance. A tree planted by the rivers of water is productive and a blessing to others. (A tree doesn’t eat its own fruit.) A tree planted by the rivers of water is able to offer shade and shelter to others. A tree planted by the rivers of water is prosperous. Much like most promises in the Bible, verse three is conditional on us doing what is stated in verse two.

Psalms 1:4, “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.” The ungodly are no so, what? They are not anything mentioned in verses two and three. The ungodly are dead. The ungodly are dry. Chaff is what’s left over after the grain harvest. The farmer has processed the wheat to remove what is useful to them and has left the rest. The chaff, which then dries up, is blown away by the wind. That is not to be us! We are not to be like the chaff — dried up, blown away, useless. We are to be like the tree — rooted, grounded, fruitful, productive.

A lot of people love verse three, but I have to tell you, verse 6 is my all time favorite.“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Knows in this verse is the same word that is used in Genesis 4:1 where it talks of Adam knowing his wife, Eve. It’s not just a general knowledge or awareness of, but speaks to a deep level of understanding — an intimate personal knowledge. If I am the righteousness of Christ, and 1 Corinthians 5:21 says I am, then God knows me. There’s no more beautiful thought than that!

The passage concludes with a goal that ought to be the goal of every believer. The enemy’s aim, like I said in the beginning, is to corrupt and draw away that which is God’s. Our goal? To know Him and be known by Him. We know we cannot know him if we stand in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, and certainly not if we sit in the seat of the scornful. His word must always be before our face, before our eyes, in our mouths, buried within our hearts.

We are here for a purpose. To know God and be known by Him and if we know God, we know his heart — His heart is to be known by people.