by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of January 26, 2014
"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." -1 Peter 1:7
To honor is to value something or someone, like Jesus, with an inherent sensitivity to the price that was paid. Typically everyone wants to be honored, but our flesh may not want to honor others as often as God desires to honor us. Especially when we go through the storms of life, we often don’t feel like honoring anybody.
No matter what season or challenge is before us, it’s important to remember that honor is a facet of sacrificial love. And just as Jesus came to serve us and to pay a price of His blood for us to have eternal life—even when we didn’t deserve it—our submission to Him and respect for others must precede our being honored by Him.
Proverbs 15:33 affirms that "Fear of The Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor." The fear of The Lord provokes us to seek righteousness; and when we seek righteousness, we receive honor from God as a reward.
If we do not choose to humble ourselves to God, according to His word, the enemy can try to humiliate us through dishonor. He can attempt to provoke us into strife, the pride of which breeds humiliation (Proverbs 20:3). Our negative responses to his provokes can be accessed from a hole in our armor that stems from a root issue yet to be resolved. And because it hasn’t been resolved, we unwittingly allow enemy access. In any relationship, dishonor begets dishonor. It is cyclical cannibalism. What we retaliate, we perpetuate.
Many years ago, when I was much younger, I recall disrespecting my mother with my mouth. I felt I was being treated unfairly during a particular season, and I retaliated by attempting to wound her with my words. It worked…for a short time. Then one night, I had a visitation from an Angel of The Lord in a dream. The angel appeared so bright white that I had to squint to see him. The Angel captivated me in his presence, saying very clearly and profoundly, “Stop disrespecting your mother!” The fear of The Lord came upon me so abruptly that I woke up feeling terrified. I knew God meant business.
When we lose sight of honor, we simultaneously lose dignity. Our existence feels hardscrabble. We feel more like a scrub pine than an oak of righteousness. In this condition, our fruit becomes scrappy, diminished in impact, size and substance over time.
But when our fear of God overrides our fear of man, God does us a favor by bringing conviction and leading us to repentance, thus positioning us to receive His finest blessings once again. God’s grace is always bigger than our sins, and He loves us too much to leave us unattended.
After my dream, I quickly apologized to my mother and released the situation to God. I knew about Ephesians 6:3, which says, “If you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on earth.’” I knew I didn’t need more trouble in my life.
The Bible says much about honor. Here are a few scriptures:
"It is an honor for a man to cease from strife…" -Proverbs 20:3
"Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor." -1 Peter 2:17
"Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." -Romans 12:10
Just as God is patient with us, forbearing with us as He perfects us by His grace, we can extend the same grace to others if we invite The Holy Spirit to help us. Romans 2:7 affirms to us that honor is a reward of patience. So instead of magnifying or minimizing our circumstances, we can starve foolishness by turning away from it and trusting God to work out the issues His way and in His time. Doing so will prevent us from growing weary and will keep us in a place of humility, righteousness and honor.
What are you willing to sacrifice to honor God and His beloved? Remember, God never leads us to give something up without promising something greater.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's latest book, "Enduring Grace," to be released soon.
Originally published Sunday, 26 January 2014.