By Bishop Joseph Mattera www.josephmattera.org
As I was fasting and praying while doing a conference in Argentina, the Lord began to drop this teaching in my spirit on honor. Several years ago, I was in a conference and I heard a pastor say that understanding this concept revolutionized his life and ministry. Immediately, I knew I was supposed to delve into this as well. As of the writing of this article, I have not yet read or listened to any teachings on this subject; thus, any overlap with other teachings is due to having the same Holy Spirit teaching us.
WHAT IS HONOR?
Honor in this context has to do with recognizing what a person is worth, celebrating who they are and what they have accomplished, and making room for them according to the God given honor they deserve. Honor is an offshoot of worship. The greatest example of worship is when a person and creature worships God as their creator both in song, words, actions and in having no other god before the one and true God. Biblical examples for this are found in the book of Revelation when the elders and living creatures come before the throne of God and worship the Lamb of God (Rev. 4:6-11 the inhabitants of heaven worship God by giving Him glory and honor and praise.) Since humans are created and not the creator they should never be worshipped, but since they are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:28) they should be honored as God’s image bearer and the crown of His creation (Psalm 8:3-4.) Furthermore, honor is not exactly the same as worship but a symptom of worship in the same way heat is not the sun but an offshoot of the sun, it is not a violation of the first of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20:3 to honor a human being. Worship is the highest and most powerful expression of honor, but honoring worthy humans for certain characteristics is absolutely vital to release Kingdom harmony, synergy and power in the earth. As a matter of fact, God even bestows His Glory upon those who follow Him faithfully (Read Isaiah 60:2) and Jesus told us in His Kingdom prayer that He gives the church the glory that the Father bestowed upon Him (John 17:22- read also Ephesians 3:21.)
Many pastors and leaders are frustrated because they don’t sense the power and presence of God in their churches and many people are frustrated in the church because they do not feel appreciated and released into their kingdom destiny. We think this will come automatically with prayer, fasting, healings and great preaching. However, if pastors would help create a culture of honor in their church and if members would learn how to respect and honor spiritual authority, there would be an incredible release of the glory of God in our midst!
Honoring God properly
We honor God first and foremost by ascribing to the Lord the glory due his name by having no other gods before Him. That is to say, in our life, affections, goals and purpose, we should fully surrender to His will for our life and His Kingdom. Paul described living like this as his “one thing” that he lives for, to know Christ and be conformed to His resurrection and His death. (Philippians 3:7-10)
Furthermore, since honor is based on worth and worth determines how much we financially give to someone or something, one of the primary ways God is honored in our life is by how much we sacrifice to give financially to His Kingdom. Proverbs 3:9 connects financial giving with honoring the Lord and in another place in the Pentateuch it teaches us not to appear before the Lord empty handed (meaning, every time you assemble with God’s people to worship the Lord you should bring an offering or a gift.) In the strictest meaning of finances and honor, it means that we don’t only give to a person because they are in financial need; we give to a person because it is a way we honor them for who they are and what they have done (1 Kings 10 teaches us that the Kings and Queens of the earth that came to hear the wisdom of Solomon honored him (for his wisdom) by lavishing him with gifts even though he was already the richest person on the face of the earth!)
PRINCIPLES OF HONORING PEOPLE
I-HONORING PARENTS /THE 5TH COMMANDMENT
Exodus 20:12 teach us to honor our father and mother so that it will go well with us in the land the Lord has given us. Because the honor of parents is the only one of the 10 commandments that commands honor, we know that the bedrock of honoring fellow human beings starts first and foremost with honoring both physical and spiritual parents. If we cannot honor our parents we will not be able to honor anybody body else adequately because parents are the bedrock of our childhood emotions and spiritual parents the foundation of our spiritual growth. Honoring parents also has to do with spiritual fathers and mothers in the Hebrew culture. The nineteen sixties released upon the earth through England and the United States a spirit of rebellion (the worst since the French Revolution!) that attempted to overthrow all religion and belief in God. Western culture went from honoring old people for their wisdom and life experience to hating everybody over 30 years old and creating a so called “generation gap” in which parents were taught to expect their teenager to mess up and grow emotionally apart from them. Culture has never recovered from this spirit of rebellion and now all over the world the media and advertisers glorify youth, strength, beauty and sexual ability as the highest ideals while old people are looked at as a nuisance and people to be discarded by their children and put in “old age homes.” Even though the bible says that having grey hair is a crown of wisdom, now, even older people are getting face lifts, shooting themselves with Botox, dying their hair, injecting their bodies with HGH, all in an attempt to look young to keep up with what’s acceptable in culture.
Thus, as we interpret this, we understand in principle the following things:
·Honoring your parents have to do with respecting their wisdom, experience and accomplishments by learning from the mistakes and successes of their life and building upon that to go to a higher level in life. Those who just have un-forgiveness towards their parents because of their failures do not honor their parents and, consequently, will not go to another level because they aren’t freed up in their emotions from the sin of un-forgiveness.
·Honoring our father and mother protects us from rebellion to authority, which is like the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23.) While honoring doesn’t always mean to “obey”, it has to due with having a spirit of submission, in which we weigh carefully what our biological parents say and respond to them with the utmost respect and humility.
·Honoring authority means to pray for them and believe for their latter years to be spent in peace watching their children grow to become greater then they are.
·Support them financially when they retire
·Care for them when they are sick
II-SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY (I Thess. 5:12,13; Hebrews 13:7,13)
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to speak into our life and give us counsel.
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to speak prophetically over your life.
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to hold you personally accountable when you make mistakes.
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to place you properly in the Kingdom of God and the church. Don’t presumptuously attempt to place yourself and ordain yourself in the Kingdom or church.
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with respecting the decisions they make in the church.
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with receiving and walking in love with the other spiritual children of your spiritual parents.
·Honoring our spiritual and biological parents has to do with not uncovering them to others when we discover sin in their life (Read Genesis 9:20-28.)
·Honoring spiritual authority has to do with celebrating their godly legacy and build our life upon it while at the same time retaining our own call and identity as children in life.
·Supporting the corporate vision of the local church and or ministry founded by spiritual fathers and mothers.
III-HONORING ONE ANOTHER
We desperately need to create a culture of honor in our churches and organizations. As we learn to practice honor with those around us, we will truly release the glory of God in our churches and organizations. The following are general principles in honoring one another
We honor one another when we:
·Respect every human being as an image bearer of God (I love addressing a homeless person as “sir” when I stop my car and ask him for directions. I enjoy seeing a well dressed man like myself address him with dignity and then seeing his eyes light up and wanting to do anything he can to help me have the proper instructions.)
·Put other people before ourselves according to the attitude of Christ shown in Philippians 2:3-12
·Recognize and celebrate one another’s unique gifts, personality and calling
·Highly regard one another with our words when we are not with them personally
·Understand the challenges of others and how the Lord is processing them to maturity towards their unique calling (knowing a person’s context helps us honor them properly)
·Defer to one another and make room for one another’s gifts (jealousy is the opposite spirit of honor because it breeds insecurity and limits your ability to accept a person’s calling, ability and place in the Kingdom)
·Recognize the true value of each person’s contributions and speak it to them and to others
·Give a person monetary gifts or public praise and recognition equal to the quality, sacrifice and kind of work they have accomplished
·Do all we can do through our prayers, acts of kindness and teamwork to aid those around us to accomplish their calling in the Kingdom
·Use our gifts to serve, and protect other people
·See husbands love their wife and overlook their weaknesses and commit themselves to their spouse’s success
·See wives respect their husband in spite of their shortcomings, they release them to love and protect and provide for them and their family
·Trust a person’s word we give them honor and respect
·Keep our word to a person we honor them and show them respect
IV-THE BLESSINGS OF HONORING OTHER PEOPLE
·When you honor someone you release them to trust you
·When you honor someone you release them to bless you
·When you honor someone you release them to serve you
·When you honor someone you release them to honor and celebrate you back
·When you honor a person you encourage them to remain true to their calling to serve God and become the best they can be
V-CHARACTERISTICS OF AN HONORABLE PERSON
·First and foremost, they honor God with the highest glory
·They are principled centered people who act based on their responsibility not based on how they feel
·They are a person of humility who recognizes the value and worth of others beside themselves
·They are people who display excellence in their life
·They don’t take their life or gifts of God for granted but are always grateful for what they have been blessed with
·They don’t flatter others for advantage
·They are unimpressed with fleeting treasures, pleasures and power
VI-BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF HONORABLE PEOPLE
·Joseph when he didn’t divorce Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus (Matthew 1:19,20)
·David when he spared King Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24)
·Joseph when he refused to lie with Potiphar’s wife ((Genesis 39:7-10)
·Job when he refused to curse God and die (Job 2/; 9,10)
·The life of the excellent woman in Proverbs 31
·Jesus, who died on the cross for the Joy that was set before Him of obeying His Father’s will (Hebrews 12:1-3)
VII-BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF DISHONORABLE MEN
·Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus with a kiss
·Demas who forsook Paul when he was in his darkest hour (2 Timothy 4: 9)
·Onan who refused to raise up seed for his brother (Genesis 38:8-10)
·King Ahab who allowed his wife Jezebel to kill Naboath for his vineyard (1 Kings 21)
·Jacob’s sons who left Joseph their brother to die because of Jealousy (Genesis 37)
·Cain who murdered his brother Abel because of jealousy (Genesis 4)
·King Saul who attempted to kill David because of Jealousy (1 Samuel 18-30)
·Peter who denied three times that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75)
·Peter when he denied he knew Gentile believers for fear of the Jewish believers (Galatians 2:11)
The question arises: how do we treat those who act dishonorably in the midst of us? Of course, this teaching doesn’t do away with the need to correct others, discipline the saints or even terminate a person’s employment or dis-fellowshipping a person from a church because of inappropriate and behavior damaging to a church, family or organization. Matthew 18:15-17 gives us guidelines on what to do in these instances. When we don’t correct dis-honorable behavior we actually lower the standards of honor for everybody else and hurt our organization. But, even in these instances we need to make sure we don’t go too far in uncovering people, that we attempt to restore them in a spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1-4) and that we do not allow ourselves to harbor bitterness or un-forgiveness towards them. Whenever I am greatly challenged by a person acting dishonorably towards me and they are not willing to repent, I need to go into the biblical default position in which I honor the work of the Blood of Christ and forgive others just as God in Christ forgave me (read Ephesians 4:32-5:1.)
Finally, if we want the glory of God to be displayed, we have to incorporate a lifestyle of honor in every aspect of our life and calling.
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