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14th September 2014
I've been on a journey over the last few months, since God spoke to me back in April from one verse in the Bible: "'Honour your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise), 'that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land' (Ephesians 6:2-3).
We live in a society that has lost its ability to honour. We pull apart politicians, parents, police... everyone. The media builds up, only to pull down. This culture of dishonour has seeped into our lives; it's just how we operate. We live in a world that seeks to obtain honour, but doesn't look to confer it.
Honour is about finding something of value. It's about recognising the worth of something. Honour is the correct recognition of glory in another. It means raising someone else up. Honour is to celebrate what God is doing in someone's life; it's to celebrate the God-work that we see in someone else.
The Bible says we should "outdo one another in showing honour" (Romans 12:10). In fact, honour is mentioned nearly 200 times in the Bible. The first person we are called to honour is God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is so worthy of honour and praise, because of who He is, His qualities, He is Creator, Sustainer and Saviour – He is eternally worthy of glory.
When we don't give God the honour due to Him, we become futile in our thinking (Romans 1:21). When we moan and complain and don't give thanks to God, we don't honour Him. But when we rejoice with thanksgiving and pray without ceasing, we honour God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We're also created to honour people – ourselves and others. We can tear ourselves apart, as well as other people. We can speak so many lies over ourselves that we end up with a very low view of ourselves. Every human being has honour. We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). We have been crowned with glory and honour (Psalm 8:5). Each human life is a masterpiece of unique and irreplaceable value. Our value comes from our God-likeness, not from our abilities. Our dignity and significance come from the fact that we are created in the image of God, not from what we do. This is true of every single human being.
We are flawed, and we may even be a little damaged, but each person is a masterpiece to be treasured and restored, not thrown away. Whether you feel this is true or not, it is! It is what the Bible says. Even if the whole of society makes judgment calls in a different way, we look to the firm foundation of the Bible. God has made you valuable. That is the truth. And it's true for everyone you encounter.
Value is defined by what someone is willing to pay for something: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). God sent Jesus to die to save us, which leaves us with no doubt about our value to Him.
The Bible is full of people we should honour: parents (Eph. 6:2), widows (1 Tim. 5:3), women (1 Peter 3:7), masters (employers, 1 Timothy 6:1), the marriage bed (Heb. 3:4), elders (1 Tim. 5:17), the poor (James 2), the Government and those in authority (1 Peter 2:17). We are called to honour everyone, but particularly those who are most difficult to honour.
So how do we honour? It has a lot to do with what we see – what we choose to focus on. It says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that "we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us". So we need to ask ourselves whether we are focusing on the treasure within or on the damaged clay. When we begin to honour people as we should, we will see the environments around us begin to change – our families, our workplaces, etc.
Don't spend so long looking at the clay pot that you miss "the surpassing power" of what God is doing in your life and in the lives of others.
To listen to the sermon on 'Honour', click here.
Image: 'Honey jar' by Nic McPhee
Posted by Paul Mann