Honour is a very important principal in the Kingdom of God. In the New Testament, the word for honour comes from the Greek word “time” which means, to give value, to appreciate and to show respect and dignity. Honour originates from the heart and is shown through our actions and deeds. The foundation of honor is humility, which means putting others first! One of the most important verses with regards to honor is found in the Book of Samuel. It says, “Those who honour Me, I will honour.” (1 Samual 2:30) To give God honour, is one of the greatest keys to the blessing of God.
With regards to honor we need to answer the following questions: Firstly, Who must we honor, secondly, how do we honor them and thirdly, what can we expect when we show honor?
1. Civil and governmental authorities:
Paul writes in the book of Romans and says, ““Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities … whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God …For he is God’s minister to you for good…Render Therefore, to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due … honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7) Although we may not like them or agree with them, we can still honor them! We are not honoring the person but the position that they occupy!
How do we honor them?
– First of all, we must pray for them: Paul writes to Timothy and says, “Therefore, I exhort you first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) It is better to pray for them than to criticize them. God is the highest governing authority and He has the ability to change the hearts of leaders or remove them. We read in Proverbs ” The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it whithersoever He will. (Proverbs 21:1)
Notice it says that the “king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord.” If we pray for them we put the heart of the leader into the hand of the Lord. If the heart of the leader cannot be changed, then God can remove them. History has shown that in some cases, persecution could have been avoided if Christians prayed for their leaders instead of speaking evil about them.
– Secondly we can show then respect: Lack of respect towards a leader is very offensive to God. Even if we do not like them or agree with them, we can still show them respect! Lack of respect is sin! We read about how Paul showed respect to governing authorities in the book of Acts even when he stood before evil government leaders. In Acts 24 when they rebuked Paul for reviling the high priest, he apologized. This does not mean that we should never protest, or speak out against the wrongs that they do, but we can do so with a respectful Christian attitude.
– Thirdly we must have an obedient attitude towards them: “Render Therefore, to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due … honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:7) This means that we obey the laws of the country and pay our taxes.This does not mean that we have to always do what they tell us to do. Sometimes their laws are not according to the Bible and if the laws of a country contradict the word of God, we rather obey the word of God! We read in Acts, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” (Acts 4:19) We do not have to obey, but we can show them respect and honor.
– Fourthly, we do not speak evil of them: The Bible says “You shall not speak evil of the ruler of the people.” (Acts 23:5) We do not honour people because of their character, or because we agree with them, but because of their position. Therefore, we must be careful how we treat our leaders. We notice this in the life of David. He never spoke evil of king Saul, even though king Saul was trying to kill him. He called Saul, ‘the Lord’s anointed’ (1 Samuel 26:9) even though Saul was not anointed. It was his position that was anointed, not his character!
What happens when we honor them and what can we expect?
We read earlier in Timothy, “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-5)
Firstly, it will improve our quality of life: Maybe there will be less crime and bigger financial blessing! Secondly, it pleases God! If it pleases God, then the church will be blessed. Thirdly, it will create an atmosphere that is conducive for people to be saved! We read, “God desires all men to be saved.” I read about a certain church in the USA that was in a town which had a bad mayor. The members of this church kept on complaining and criticizing the mayor. One day, God convicted the pastor of this and the church repented. They then collected finances and gave it to the mayor to bless the town. Within a short time, God had so blessed that church that it trebled in size!
2. Social authority:
This includes our employers, our teachers, our sports team leaders and those who have social authority over us.
How do we honor them?
In Colossians we read, “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” (Colossians 3:22-24)
First of all, we honor them by doing what they tell us to do. Secondly, whatever we do, we do it to the best of our ability. If we work in a shop, we will be the best shop attendant. If we are a student in a school, we will be the best student and do our work with diligence. Thirdly, we will do it as unto the Lord! He is the One who is the top CEO! Even if we do not like our employer, we will do it for Jesus! We have the example of Joseph in the house of Potiphar, who as a slave, gave his very best. Fourthly, we honor them by having integrity. We do not steal from our employers, we are on time for work and for our meetings and appointments.
What can we expect?
It says that the “Lord will reward us.” This could mean a spiritual reward, a financial reward, or even a promotion. God may give us favor with our employers and we may even get a promotion, or else He may give us a better job somewhere else. We have the example of Joseph, he served Potiphar well as a slave and God promoted him to be the administrator of Egypt.
3. Family authority.
How do we honor family authority?
Children must honor their parents: “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your mothert and father, which is the first commandment with a promise. ‘That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Wives must honor ther husbands: “and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) They do not respect their husbands because they are good husbands, but because of their position. This does not means that they always have to obey their husbands, but they can treat their husbands with respect.
Men must honor the weaker vessels: This can apply to husbands honoring their wives and men honoring those of the opposite sex. It can especially apply to young unmarried men honoring unmarried women. The Bible says to husbands, “Giving honour to the wife as the weaker vessel … being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) The husband should treat the wife, with dignity and respect. She is after all, the ‘daughter of the King!’ It is important that men are polite and respectful to the opposite sex.
Some may object and say, ‘this is not in our culture’! The fact is, that if we are born again, we now live in Kingdom culture and no longer in African, European or Asian culture! The devil has been trying to degrade women since the time of Adam and Eve, because of what happened in the garden of Eden. Therefore, more men abuse and mistreat women, the more they are under the influence of the devil. The spiritual maturity of a church can often be measured by the way they treat their women.
What can we expect?
First of all, we can expect more answers to our prayers. We read how Peter speaks to husbands and tells them to honor the weaker vessels, so their prayers will not be hindered. Secondly, wives can expect a greater level of protection from the devil when they respect and submit to their husbands. Thirdly, Children can expect a healthy and a long life on earth if they honor their parents. We read in Ephesians, “that they may live long on the earth!” Fourthly, when young men honor ‘the weaker sex’, God may give them wonderful marriege partners. Finally, good family relationships will influence our society and draw many people to Christ!
4. Spiritual authority:
This applies to the leaders in the church, in house groups and to those in the fivefold ministry.
How do we honor them?
Paul writes to Timothy and says, “ Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages. ”Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” (1 Timothy 5:17-19)
Firstly, we honour them by supporting them financially. It says that “a laborer is worth of his wages.” Paul wrote to the Philippians and told them in response to their financial support to him, that “God will supply all their needs according to His riches in Christ.” (Philippians 4:19)
Secondly, we also honor them by not criticizing and speaking evil of our spiritual leaders. The Bible says, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm!” (Psalm 105:15) It is a very serious offence before God and a lack of the fear of God when we speak evil of those in spiritual authority.
Thirdly, we have a submissive attitude towards them: The Bible says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17) This does not necessary mean that we must do everything they tell us to do, and to control us, but we have a humble and a submissive attitude towards them. If we disagree, we do so respectfully!
Fourthly, what about titles and respect? Do we have to call them pastor, prophet or ‘man of God’, bishop, first lady etc. We do not see this in the Bible, especially in the book of Acts. For example, when Paul writes, about himself, he refers to himself as Paul, but he refers to his ministry as that of an apostle. Furthermore, Jesus said, “Be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:9-11)
Today we have two extremes: On the one hand there are churches that have gone to the extreme with regards to titles. They demand that their leaders be called by some title such as Bishop, Prophet, Pastor, First-lady etc. One the other hand we also have churches that are too casual and treat their leaders with total lack respect and call everyone by their first names.
There is a balance. First of all we must be sensitive to the type of person that we are speaking to. If the leader is highly regarded and older than us, we can show him honor by calling him by some title, For example, pastor. Secondly, it also depends on whether we address them privately or publicly. If example, if I speak to my senior pastor privately I will call him by his first name. But if I refer to him publicly, I will put the title ‘pastor’ in front of his name to honor his position.
What can we expect if we honor those in spiritual authority?
Firstly, it says that it will be profitable for us if we do so. It may be the key to receiving a financial blessing, healing for our bodies, protection from the enemy and God’s blessing on our family. It could even affect our eternal destiny when we one day have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Secondly, it could be the key to finding our calling, increase our anointing and even influence our relationship with God. Jesus said, “He who receives a prophet in the name of the prophet shall receive a prophets reward.” (Matthew 10:41) This can also apply to all those in the ministry. For example, if we honor someone who has a healing anointing, we may reap the benefit of good health. God may even impart their anointing to us. For example, Joshua honored Moses and became the leader of Israel.
5. Honoring one another:
How do we honor one another?
Paul writes, “From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh … If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17) Paul is saying that we no longer see each other according to our natural distinctions, rich or poor, black or white, male or female, young or old, etc. but as a new creations in Christ. We are kings and queens, princes and princesses, anointed and beloved children of God, seated at His right hand in heavenly places.
Furthermore, we no longer focus on one another’s natural weakness but on their potential. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) We see, one another as God sees us! He sees His Son Jesus living in us! Therefore, we are all valuable and precious to Him.
There are some practical ways to show honor to one another:
We will be on time for our appointments and meetings. If we make an appointment to be somewhere at a certain time, we should aim to be there on time or even a little bit earlier. If we agree to meet at 7 pm, it is lack of honor to come 10 minutes late. If we cannot be on time, then we must let the other party know well in advance that we will be late. This also applies to Church meetings. If church starts at 10:00 then we should be there at 10:00. It often disrupts the program when we are late
We will be polite to one another. We can do so by letting them go through doors ahead of us, by opening car doors for them and by using polite language when we talk to them.
We honor people by the way we dress. This does not mean that we wear a suite and tie wherever we go, but our clothes are neat and clean. It depends on the occasion. If the occasion is casual, then dress casually. When we have to meet with someone, we ask our selves the question, “how much honor do I need to show them?” Then dress accordingly. It is a good rule to dress a little bit smarter than the average person in the group.
We will listen more than we speak. The Bible says, “By slow to speak and quick to listen.” (James 1:19) God has given us two ears and one mouth, Therefore, we should listen twice as much as we talk! To talk all the time and not allow allow others to speak is rude and lack of honor.
When we keep our promises. If we tell someone tht we will do something, we will do it. For example if we tell someone that we will phone them, we will do so. We will not make commitments and promises to people that we cannot keep. If people invite us to some event such as a meal, we will keep that appointment and not cancel at the last moment.
Finally we honor one another by serving one another. Look for opportunities to serve, help, wash dishes, pour the tea, help clean up afterwards. It says in Colossians that when we serve one another it is as if we are serving Jesus. (Colossians 3:23)
What can we expect if we honor one another?
Firstly, if we believe that Christ is in them, we will be able to draw from that life. We will not always have to wait for some man of faith and power to come to town to pray for us, we can receive our miracle from the weakest person in the group if we honor them. Secondly, we will reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7) If we sow honor, one day we will reap honor. Furthermore, we always reap more than we sow! Thirdly, when we honor one another, we honor the Christ in them. If we do so, we will receive God’s honor.
6. Honoring God:
How do we honor God?
We honor God when we give to Him our best: We read in the book of Malachi, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? … You offer polluted bread upon mine altar; …. and you offer lame and sick.” (Malachi 1:6-7) We also read in Colossians, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23) We honor God when we serve Him with all of our hearts and give to Him the best part of our time, our resources and our talents. That is why it is good to give to God the first part of our day, when we spend time with Him in prayer and reading the Bible.
We honor God with our worship. Jesus said, “They that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) The Greek word for truth here means ‘to be genuine’. It means that we mean what we say and don’t just say empty words. When we worship God, we do so with all of our hearts. Just as we bow down to honor a king or a leader, so we ‘bow down in our hearts’ before God when we worship Him.
We honor God through our tithes and offerings. The Bible says, “Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10) Our tithes are the first fruits of our finances, which are the best part of our finances. Therefore, we honor God by giving. By giving generously we are saying to God, “I am willing to let go of this money, because You are my source.” This is honoring to God!
We honor God when we believe His word. When we believe His word, we declare that He is faithful. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. They that come to Him must believe that he is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Therefore, when we believe His word, we are honoring His character.
What can we expect if we honor God?
Firstly, honor creates an atmosphere for miracles to take place. It is one of the keys to have strong faith. For example, the Roman Centurion honored Jesus when he said, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, just speak the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8) He was actually saying, “I cannot give to you the honor that you deserve.” Jesus said to him, “I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel” and He healed his servant. (Matthew 8:10) He had a humble attitude and gave honor to Jesus and therefore, received a great miracle.
We read about the lack of honor that the people of Nazareth showed towards Jesus. They said, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, a prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.” (Mark 6:3-5) It does not say, “He would not do no mighty work there, but “He could not.” Therefore, honor is a key that releases the power and the blessing of the Lord.
– Secondly, we receive His honor: God says, “Those who honour Me, I will honour.” (1 Samuel 2:30) Receiving honor from God can mean a lot of things. We receive God’s favor and things begin to happen to us that we do not deserve. It could mean promotion in our ministry and calling. It could mean an increase of God’s power and anointing and finally, the enjoyment of a wonderful intimate relationship with Him.
Giving and receiving honor is one of the greatest keys to the kingdom of God. Therefore, we can expect great blessing an breakthroughs as we use this wonderful key. Amen