All About Honor

In a series we did called Forgotten Virtues, the first message I taught was on honor. If you're interested, you can download the messages here.

When Jesus said, "a prophet is without honor in his hometown," the Greek word he used was “atimos” (pronounced at’-ee’-mos). It means to dishonor, to treat as common or ordinary.

The word translated as honor from Greek is the word “time” (prounounced tim-may’). It means to value or highly esteem, and to treat as precious, weighty, or valuable.

Applied to our daily lives, we could say:

Honor builds up. Dishonor tears down.

Honor believes the best. Dishonor believes the worst.

Honor values. Dishonor devalues.

If you want a common marriage, dishonor your spouse. Treat him or her as ordinary. If you want an exceptional marriage, highly esteem your spouse. Treat him or her as precious or valuable.

You might say, “But he isn’t acting honorably.”

Remember, respect is earned, but honor is given. If you treat someone with honor even when they haven’t earned it, they might start behaving honorably.

An Example of the Power of Honor

1 Timothy 5:17 says, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”

For many years, a certain church had been in decline, and they asked me to consult with them. I was happy to meet with their pastor and elders to hear their story.

Each time the pastor spoke, the elders talked over him and brushed off his comments as meaningless. The longer the meeting carried on, the more obvious their problem became to me.

When they asked me what I thought, I’m sure they expected me to tell them to change the style of their service or add a Saturday night service or create more Bible study groups.

Instead, I told them that their number one problem was that they were dishonoring their pastor. Immediately, the elders became defensive. It wasn’t until I quoted their words and demonstrated what they had done that they realized their lack of honor.

I explained that I didn’t expect God to bless their church until they trusted and believed in the person God had put there to lead them. On the spot, they sincerely repented to their pastor. Four years later, this church has almost doubled in size.

Here at Life.Church, the honor I feel from my team and attenders spurs me on to behave honorably. As my church honors me as the God-appointed leader, I feel a deeper sense of urgency to hear from God and do what pleases Him.

The Big Picture

Our entire culture is suffering from a lack of understanding of the power and value of honor. And it starts with how we dishonor God.

We are treating God as common or ordinary.

God is not the “big guy in the sky” or the “man upstairs.” He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Jesus is not our “homeboy.” He is the risen and soon-returning King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

In Isaiah 29:13, the Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

It’s time we stop giving God lip service and give him the honor He is due.

What we've learned:

Respect is earned; honor is given. Understanding the difference between these two things is key to leading a godly life and governing a godly ministry. Remember: respect is about how the other person acts. Honor is about how you act. Show honor to God, to those you love, to those in positions of authority, to those who are weaker than you, and to those you've been tasked to lead.

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