I believe with my whole heart that the majority of degradation that we see in society and in the church is an issue of honor. Honor is one of those words that we are beginning to see resurface in our communities, but for the most part has been absent for a long time. We have neglected the importance of honor and many times distorted the concept to the point of avarice. Many people see the word ‘honor’ as a bad word implying blind submission and or the relinquishing of one’s self respect and dignity. We have replaced the word ‘honor’ with inadequate synonyms such as respect, support, acknowledgment or accolade. While all of these words and ideas are found within honor, honor is still so much more. Honor is the divine glue designed to hold together order. Order is the first thing on God’s list of priorities. Order is so important that God crushed His son to restore order. Let’s look at a very familiar passage of scripture:
John 3:16– For God so loved the world…
The word ‘world’ there is the greek word ‘cosmos’. It literally means the arrangement of things, the placement and or order of a system. It is not that God loved the earth so much, it’s because God so loved His order. One of the things I teach often is that the Kingdom of God operates within four dynamics: Order, Rank, Protocol, and Power. There can not be effective POWER without protocol. Protocol, simply put, is Honor. There is not power without honor. Where there is no honor, there is only highjacked power. So what is HONOR? Honor is the RECOGNITION and proper RESPONSE to rank. Rank is one’s jurisdiction, authority and assignment. Honor is acknowledging that ‘rank’ and responding accordingly. This is the only way ORDER is maintained. Where there is a lack of HONOR, there will not be sustained order. When order is not maintained it mutates into disorder. Disorder breeds disunity, division, and glory-less (place of no inheritance, deal with that in just a moment) environments. WE MUST HAVE HONOR.
I grew up and started doing Martial Arts at a very young age. I was engulfed in the Asian culture, became a Buddhist (I am delivered now, calm down). I did Martial Arts for over 17 years, was a vegetarian (NEVER AGAIN), lived surrounded by the Asian culture, even spoke both Mandarin and Cantonese. In the Asian culture Honor is such a priority that everything revolves around it. I remember when I was doing Martial Arts, even if we were mad at someone, and was going to fight, we would bow to show respect. We wouldn’t speak in the presence of a master because of the expectation that he might say something that will change my life. Our society so enforces our personal destiny and responsibility that we have bred a culture of dishonor. We have a generation so consumed with “me, myself, and I” that we are willing to walk over any and everything to “get what’s ours”, even if it means disrespecting our mothers and fathers.
We all know the commandment God gave to Moses..
Exodus 20:12– Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Now what is interesting is that the word ‘honour’ there is the same Hebrew word for glory, ‘kabod’. The word ‘kabod’ literally means heaviness, weight, importance, or essence. It would be useful here to say it is interesting the revelation that is brought out if you replaced the word ‘glory’ for ‘honor’ in scripture. Let’s try it.
Matthew 5:16– Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Do you see that. If we would replace it, it would read like this:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and HONOR your Father which is in heaven.
Now the passage gives us illumination. That we when do good work, we HONOR our Father. What does this mean? We represent our Father in a good way. Because when you HONOR someone you are constantly concerned with how you are making them look. You can not detach the importance of reputation from honor. Honor is all about reputation. We see the reputation of many leaders in the Body of Christ being slung and rung threw the mud, and many leaders are happy. Many leaders are elated to see another Christian leader fall and fumble through sin and humiliation. This is dishonor. We must understand if one minister of the gospel falls, we all fall. It is not a time to rejoice, it’s a time to pray and restore. Let’s look at one more scripture.
1 Cor. 6:20– For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
If we replace the word ‘glorify’ with ‘honor’ it will read like this:
For ye are bought with a price: therefore HONOR God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
WOW! Now I understand why William McDowell sings the song “my life is not my own, to you I belong.. I give myself, I give myself away”. When we HONOR God with our Body, we are saying “Lord this does not belong to me, it’s yours. And since it is your, YOU tell me what to do with it”. It says in Ephesian 6,
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
Well what is the promise of honor. It is found in Exodus 20:12, it’s LONGEVITY. Could the reason we see fast, very successful, shooting start type ministries fall overnight? Could dishonor be the reason we embrace faddish, celebrity like Christian leaders who are only here for a moment, and then gone the next? Now you say, “Pastor, I know all of this”, well how does this translate to the issue of Fathers and Sons.
I am a young man, brought up in the south.. Atlanta, Georgia. We are trained to say “yes ma’am, no ma’am”. We are trained to open the doors for females, and be silent in the presence of ‘grown folks’. In the south you are taught to respect your elders, help old people across the street, and give credit where credit is due. Sadly, while the south may have a culture of hospitality, it seems as if the Church has missed this lesson. Where has honor gone? Let’s deal with a few issues:
How can you have 18 spiritual mothers and 33 spiritual fathers? Now let’s qualify this very quickly. A Spiritual Father is one that you have submitted your life, ministry and assignment to for the purpose of maturity, oversight and accountability. This is usually your pastor. Now people have multiple spiritual fathers and mothers in the same city, state, sometimes even in the same CHURCH!!! The term ‘Spiritual Father’ has become a title we tag on any and everything now, and because of it’s frequent use without proper understanding and reverence.. IT MEANS NOTHING NOW! What happens when Fathers become furniture.
When we look at Elijah and Elisha.. Elisha submitted his entire life to Elijah.
2 Kings 2:2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee…
When it came time for Elijah to depart, he tried to spare Elisha the pain of departure, but Elisha, his son, said wherever you go, I am with you. Let’s look at another example.
Jesus was speaking in John 6. And then He makes a statement of extreme profundity. He says in verse 53, “if you don’t eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you have no life”. WAIT A SECOND!!! Jesus are you saying that I have to be full of you.? You have to be my desire? The Bible says that many walked away from Jesus.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back , and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve , Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
What an amazing exchange. Honor kept the disciples from leaving Jesus at a time where it seemed impossible to follow. We must have honor. We need sons and daughters that understand the importance of being FULL of their ASSIGNMENT to their Mothers and Fathers of the Faith. If you call yourself a son or a daughter, understand that it’s not a weekend thing. It’s a LIFETIME thing.
I want to give you some practical applications for developing a life of honor and a deeper understanding and intimacy in your assignment to be a son or daughter. You must learn to honor your leader’s PERSON, PERSONALITY, and PRESENCE.
PERSON– There are natural and spiritual needs that your Mother and or Father in the Faith have. Make it your business to pray for them, fast for them, but sometimes the greatest thing to do is just ask “do you need anything?” You must be dedicated to the well being of their person. This deals with protection, covering, and accountability. I remember when I was serving my first pastor, I wouldn’t eat unless he had ate. I couldn’t see myself being an armor bearer, him working hard for me, and I am sitting on the sidelines eating. I couldn’t imagine driving a better car, he could have the car. I wouldn’t want anyone to see my man or woman of God without the very best. I am just telling you my line of thought. We must be committed to taking care of the well being of our leaders. They sacrifice so much for us.
PERSONALITY– Every leader has a different personality. I love the honor displayed by David. Even though Saul hated him, and even tried to kill him, David never dishonored Saul. He never spoke against him, was involved in gossip, and would never dare throw a javelin back at Saul. When given the opportunity, David was there to help and cure Saul of his ailment, never bringing shame to his king. WATCH THIS!!!! David never tried to change Saul. It is not the job of the Son to change the Father.. but the job of the Father is to change the Son. The Father and the Son are NOT equal. Now understand I am not dealing with the trinity or the Godhead. I am speaking of our relationships. American culture has killed dishonor by making one generation neglect the achievements and sacrifices of another generation with the statement “that was then, this is now”. That becomes the catalyst for “you don’t understand me” which breeds a disregard for counsel and wisdom. If you are going to submit to someone understand that you must submit to their personality, no matter how CRAZY they are. Honor their personality, even if it rubs you the wrong way.. ask David, God is working someone out on your behalf.
PRESENCE– Honor always produces credibility and acknowledgement. This is something we understand from a church perspective. We ‘honor’ the presence of the Lord. In the same way we should honor those that we have dedicated and submitted to. Our natural and spiritual leaders. We are the only generation that sit at the table with Generals and try to teach them something. When we are in worship, and the presence of God comes in, do we stop and try to teach the presence of the Lord. Of course not! We quiet ourselves and let God have His way. We must learn to honor our leaders, give them first place, preference and priority.
Let us not allow our Fathers to become furniture. Let us see a resurgence of honor enter our home, our churches and our communities. Let us commit ourselves to being bold and courageous when it comes to honoring our leaders’ person, personality and presence. Be intentional about showing honor to those you are submitted to. God requires this of us.
1 Tim. 5:17– Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.